Villar: Lifting tax exemption on low-cost houses would burden OFWs
Sen. Cynthia Villar disagrees with proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF) to lift the tax exemption on the purchase of houses and other properties worth P3 million and below.
At the hearing of the Senate ways and means committee on Wednesday, Villar said the said tax reform plan would only burden the people, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who could only afford to buy properties worth P500,000 to P3 million.
Villar emphasized that it would be unfair for OFWs to be taxed for buying P3 million worth of property when they contribute at least $50 billion (P2.5 trillion) to the country’s economy.
“Tatanggalin mo ’yung exemption sa VAT doon sa P3 million na ’yon, ’di ba ang pinepenalize mo yung OFWs?” Villar asked representatives from the DOF.
“Is it worth it na hindi mo pabilhin ng mga bahay ’yung mga OFWs para ibigay mo sa government na hindi naman gagastahin ng maganda ’yung pera ng government?” she said.
Villar, whose family runs a real estate business, urged the DOF to reconsider its proposal, stressing that previous administrations were able to manage the taxes even without lifting the tax exemption on the said properties.
“I want you to reconsider that kasi lahat ng administrasyon na nagdaan, hindi nila tinanggal ’yang exemption sa VAT sa pagbili ng bahay P3 million below,” she said. “Ngayon, bakit mo sasabihin na modern-day heroes ang ating OFWs tapos pahihirapan mo silang bumili ng bahay?”
In ambush interview after the hearing, Finance Undersecretary Antoinette Tionko, expecting that the proposal would get negative feedback, assured senators that the DOF would consider their appeal.
“We want to hear all the sectors that are affected so if they’re going to air their concerns it’s not as if our doors are closed,” Tionko said. “That’s why we have this hearing so they can be heard also, and if they have valid concerns, in which we can address, that doesn’t necessarily impede our plan for tax reform. We will see if there are other means to address that.” /atm
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