Sotto: Proposed alcohol, tobacco taxes still up for debate
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products might still be debated and could still be adjusted, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said at the Saturday Forum at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.
“I don’t blame the committee for coming up with a report [on] that. There’s never a time when we [at the Senate] don’t get into a huddle,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino. “It’s better if you set the rates a bit high at first so that you can get what you want.”
According to Sotto, among the issues being debated are the differences between e-cigarettes and heat-no-burn tobacco products.
“So I think, after our debates, we will find a better tax rate,” he said.
On Wednesday, Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, endorsed for plenary approval Senate Bill No. 1074, which was contained in Committee Report No. 6.
The committee report was signed by 17 senators.
The bill seeks to impose a 20-percent ad valorem tax for distilled spirits and a specific tax of P90 per proof liter on the first year, or 2020, with an additional P10 every year until the fourth year, or 2023.
Fermented liquor (beer) and alcopops, meanwhile, will have a specific tax rate of P45 per liter in the first year. This would increase by P10 every year until the fourth year.
As to tobacco products, starting Jan. 1, 2020, the tax for classic nicotine would be up P45 per 10 milliliters or a fraction thereof; P50 by Jan. 1, 2021; P55 by Jan. 1, 2022; and P60 by Jan. 1, 2023.
The tax for vapor products will also increase starting on Jan. 1, 2020, to P45 per milliliter or a fraction thereof. This will increase by P5 every year until 2023.
Sotto said the Senate did not impose a deadline for the passage of the bill.
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