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House panel OKs bill lowering corporate tax, fixing incentives for businesses

Bill up for plenary debates next week
/ 02:56 PM August 14, 2019
House panel OKs bill on liquor tax hike

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda. INQUIRER.net file photo / RYAN LEAGOGO

MANILA, Philippines — The House ways and means committee approved Wednesday the second tranche of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program which seeks to cut the corporate income tax (CIT) rate and rationalize incentives for businesses. 

Voting 27-2, the panel approved House Bill No. 313 of committee chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, with minimal amendments, mostly revisions in style. The committee only deliberated on the bill for two days, and Salceda said the bill could be up for plenary debates next week.

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“Most of the major amendments will be in the plenary,” Salceda said in an interview.

Only Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas objected to the committee-level approval of the bill.

READ: Makabayan bloc: TRAIN 2 is pro-rich, anti-poor sequel of tax reform package

The measure, dubbed as the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities (Trabaho) bill in the 17th Congress, gradually cuts the 30 percent CIT by two percent per two years until it reaches 20 percent.

The proposed law, one of the priority tax measures of the administration, also gives the President the power to grant incentives if the project has a comprehensive sustainable development plan and would bring in at least US $200 million. 

Department of Finance Usec. Karl Chua and Salceda said the bill would make the country’s CIT rate regionally competitive, as it’s currently the highest in Southeast Asia.

“It saves the country from being uncompetitive… second, we want it to be simpler, fairer… at mas performance-bound,” Salceda added.

The bill also grants income incentives for a maximum of five years, removing the perpetual 5 percent incentive on gross income earned and limiting income tax holiday. 

The House passed the bill on third and final reading last Sept. 10, 2018, but the Senate failed to pass the same. This prompted lawmakers to refile the bill under the current 18th Congress. /je

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TAGS: corporate income tax, House, incentives reform, Trabaho bill
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