VAT refund for foreign tourists proposal approved by House of Representatives
MANILA, Philippines — A proposed measure allowing foreign tourists to claim value-added tax (VAT) rebate for their purchases received approval from legislators at the House of Representatives on Monday.
House Bill (HB) No. 7292, which seeks to provide non-resident tourists with VAT refunds for buying qualified goods worth P3,000 and above from accredited stores, got 304 affirmative votes, four negatives, and zero abstentions.
If enacted, this bill would institutionalize President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to employ VAT refund measures for tourists not residents of the Philippines.
House Bill No. 7292 was passed on the second reading at the lower chamber on March 1.
Despite the overwhelming approval, however, the Makabayan bloc opposes the measure. Makabayan lawmakers said it is not something the country urgently needs, stressing that VAT exemption for basic commodities is what Filipinos demand right now as prices of goods continue to soar.
“Ipinapahayag ng Kabataan ang aming pagtutol sa bill on VAT Refund for non-resident tourists. Naniniwala tayo na hindi ito ang sagot sa pagpapalakas ng ating tourism industry. Bagkus, ito lamang ay magreresulta sa foregone revenue which we could’ve benefitted from to finance public projects and social services,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel said after the voting on the bill.
(Kabataan party-list is registering opposition to the VAT Refund for non-resident tourists. We believe that this is not the answer to strengthening our tourism industry. Instead, it would only result in foregone revenue, which we could’ve benefitted from to finance public projects and social services.)
READ: Lawmaker questions VAT refund for foreign tourists
“Dagdag pa rito, hindi VAT refund ang dapat na binibigyang prayoridad ng ating pamahalaan lalo na’t tayo’y nasa gitna ng matinding krisis pang ekonomya at mabilis na pagtaas ng bilihin sa merkado. Kung meron man pong VAT na hindi dapat nating singilin ito po ay ang VAT pati na rin ang excise taxes sa oil products ang VAT sa basic commodities and utilities para sa kaluwagan ng mamamayan,” he added.
(In addition to this, VAT refund should not be the priority of the government, especially since we are in the middle of a severe economic crisis and prices of goods are rising quickly. If there is a VAT that we shouldn’t collect, it is the VAT on excise and basic commodities and utilities so that we can help the people.)
READ: Makabayan solon: Repeal regressive tax policy, not VAT refunds for foreign tourists
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