Solon withdraws ‘vanity tax’ bill
Following a backlash from netizens, a congressman withdrew his bill seeking to tax beauty products and services which came to be known as “vanity tax.”
In a statement on Monday, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said he was withdrawing the bill following the assurance of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that there was no need for a vanity tax.
“In light of the intense controversy generated by our proposal to provide an alternative to the excise tax on petroleum and the recent statement of Sec. Ben Diokno that the government has enough funds for now, we deemed it prudent not to push for the so-called vanity tax,” Batocabe said.
The backlash on Batocabe’s bill trended on Twitter with the hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty.
Batocabe earlier filed the bill to impose a 30-percent excise tax on cosmetic products as an alternative to the government’s proposed tax reform package seeking to raise excise taxes on oil.
“As representatives of our people mandated by our Constitution to identify sources of revenues for the government, the vanity tax was proposed in good faith to spare our people from the scourge of imposing excise taxes on petroleum,” Batocabe said.
Batocabe said he decided to withdraw the bill considering the ”happiness” some sectors get from cosmetic products.
“But then, we do realize from the sentiments that taxing beauty products would also adversely affect certain sectors, which according to some, would also deprive them of their basic happiness. Hence, this decision,” Batocabe said.
But the lawmaker said he would keep up his opposition on additional taxes on oil which would directly affect the prices of goods.
He added that he hoped the strong opposition to the vanity tax would compel the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs to improve their revenue collection on oil and beauty industries.
“We hope that the strong sentiment generated against taxing beauty products and services will transform into encouragement for our people to urge the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs to collect taxes more effectively and efficiently in the oil and beauty industries,” Batocabe said.
“For after all, these industries owe their large profits from our people. At the very least, they should pay correct taxes,” he added.
In his House Bill 4723 he co-authored with Quezon city Rep. Winston Castelo, Batocabe said imposing tax on non-essential products like cosmetic products is a “more reasonable option” than imposing excise taxes on basic commodities like oil.
“In comparison, any increase of price for beauty and cosmetic products and services shall only be shouldered by those who choose to and can afford it,” the bill read.
The Department of Finance (DOF) has ruled out the possibility of including vanity tax in the government’s tax package being pitched to Congress.
Increasing excise tax on fuel is part of the DOF’s first tax package, which also seeks to lower personal income tax, broaden the value-added tax base, adjust excise taxes on petroleum and automobiles, reduce the estate and donor’s tax, and provide amnesty to past estate tax cases. RAM/rga
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