Next president urged: Prioritize tax reform within first 100 days | Inquirer News
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Next president urged: Prioritize tax reform within first 100 days

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 09:39 AM March 29, 2016

MANILA — Tax managers on Monday urged whoever would win the presidential election in May to certify tax reform measures as urgent within the first 100 days of the new administration.

The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) also called on taxpayers to join a social media campaign dubbed “April 15 Black Friday” on the same day as the deadline of filing last year’s income tax returns to show support for comprehensive tax reform.

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“TMAP is calling on all presidential candidates to certify tax reform as urgent and commit to enact a holistic tax reform measure within the first 100 days of their presidency. TMAP is likewise calling on all candidates for Senate and Lower House seats to support and enact the needed tax reform measure,” it said in a statement.

TMAP sees an “urgent need” for tax reform on the back of an “inherent inequity in the current personal income tax system and our uncompetitive corporate income tax rates vis-à-vis the corporate income tax rates of our Asean neighbors.”

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“The tax brackets for individuals are outdated, resulting in an unfair regressive system. Inflation has eroded the income brackets and has pushed up the meager earnings of salaried individuals into higher tax rate brackets causing increases in income taxes, but without a corresponding increase in purchasing power. This has created inequity and has caused the current personal income tax system to be regressive,” TMAP explained.

According to TMAP, the Philippines slaps one of the highest personal as well as corporate income tax rates in the region, which, if brought down “will make the Philippine workforce and corporations doing business in the Philippines competitive with their Asean neighbors.”

TMAP nonetheless pointed out that tax reform should be holistic to ensure that foregone revenues from lower rates would be compensated to sustain the strong growth in revenue collection seen these past years.

In this regard, TMAP is proposing a five-point tax reform agenda that will not only make the tax structure fair but also further expand the revenue base, as follows: restructuring the personal income tax and corporate income tax systems; improving tax compliance of self-employed individuals and professionals by simplifying processes as well as by a congressional move to lift the bank secrecy law to allow revenue authorities to more easily go after tax evaders; broadening the value-added tax or VAT base; considering indexing the excise tax on petroleum products; and enacting the fiscal incentive reform bill.

Taxpayers should likewise support comprehensive tax reform, TMAP said, hence the group has enjoined participation in its “April 15 Black Friday” activity, which it described as a “symbolic unity declaration [to demand] for tax reform.”

“Taxpayers who wish to participate in ‘April 15 Black Friday‘ are asked to wear black on that day, post selfies in social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) holding a ‘Tax Reform Now’ sign, and use the hashtag #April15BlackFriday in their posts,” TMAP said.

“Taxpayer-voters are also encouraged to speak to their candidates about the issue, engage them in healthy discussion, and get them to commit to publicly declare support for tax reform,” it added.  SFM

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TAGS: 2016 elections, 2016 presidential election, Asean, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Business, comprehensive tax reform, corporate income tax, Economy, Election, Excise Tax, Finance, House of Representatives, Legislation, Nation, News, personal income tax, personal income tax system, Philippine Congress, Politics, Senate, Tax, Tax Management Association of the Philippines, tax managers, tax reform, TMAP, value added tax, VAT
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