Rich to benefit from tax reform package, says think tank

ANNUAL CRUSH Taxpayers, who waited till the last day, jam a Bureau of Internal Revenue office in Intramuros, Manila, on Monday to file their returns and avoid penalties. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

With lower personal income, estate and donor taxes, rich people would benefit from the newly-enacted tax reform package, according to a progressive think tank.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Ibon Foundation said the rich would reap more benefits from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) than low-income Filipinos.

“The market-driven policies that have been prioritized by the Duterte government such as the TRAIN, Build, Build, Build, amendments to the Public Services Act, and easing restrictions on foreign ownership and participation will hugely benefit only oligarchs, foreign investors and their allies in the bureaucracy,” the group said.

Ibon Foundation also lamented the second package of the proposed tax reform that Congress was set to tackle, which they said would put forward lower corporate income taxes for the rich.

Ibon said that “the newly-enacted first package of TRAIN relieves the rich by lowering personal income, estate, and donor taxes. The second package, which Congress is set to tackle soon, will propose to lower corporate income taxes as well.

“But the poorest 10 million Filipino families whose incomes fall way below the family living wage of Php1,039 per day will soon bear the brunt of TRAIN-triggered higher prices of food and goods, and service fees,” it added.

In defense, Malacañang on December 19 said the 10 million poor households would get a P200 monthly cash transfer in 2018 and P300 per month in 2019 and 2020 to “cushion” the impact of indirect taxes.

Ibon Foundation, however, said the measure was “insufficient.”

“TRAIN’s measly Php200 monthly social protection is slated only for 2018 and will be insufficient to cushion the impact of added taxes on oil and sweetened beverages, electricity, and shipping,” the group said. /je