House panel OKs higher taxes for fuel, vehicles

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The House Committee on Ways and Means on Wednesday approved a measure that seeks to increase taxes on petroleum products and automobiles.

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Seventeen members of the panel voted for the approval of the Duterte administration’s proposed Tax Reform package on Wednesday afternoon, the same bill that lowers personal and corporate income tax rate from 32 percent to 25 percent.

Only four members of the panel opposed the measure — Reps. Jocelyn Limkaichong of Negros Oriental, Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list, Rico Geron of Agap party-list and Anthony Bravo of Coop party-list.

Under the measure, the price of diesel will increase by P6 per liter — P3 for the first year, P2 for the second year and P1 for the third year.

As for car prices, the Tax Reform Package imposes a five percent excise tax, up from two percent, on cars priced P600,000 and below. This would mean that a compact car worth P590,000 based on net manufacturing/importation price will be worth P619,000 or up from its old price of P601,800.

Cars priced over P600,000 to P1.1 million, on the other hand, will incur a 20 percent excise tax instead of an existing income tax rate of P12,000 plus excess of P600,000 net price.

The proposed tax reform bill was amended to retain the cooperatives’ Value Added Tax exemption, but such exemption will only be applicable to cooperatives whose capital is P5 million or less.

“I voted no because excise taxes on fuel and expanded VAT coverage are anti-poor,” Tinio, who is pushing for the separation of the bill on lowering personal and income tax from bills seeking increased taxes, said in a text message.

The panel is also considering imposing additional taxes for sweetened beverages and distilled spirits.

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