• Industry seeks change in tax on sugar-sweetened beverage

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    THE beverage industry intends to make a counter proposal on the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages before the Senate to impose the tax on sugar content and not per liter.

    “For sugary products, I think they have to take some suggestions to the Senate. There’s minimal change, but instead of the per liter, they are proposing on sugar content,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said over the weekend.

    “The proposal was not anti-poor, in fact it’s progressive. Higher income, higher tax rate. Even on the reduction of the income tax rate, if you notice there’s a higher tax rate on higher income,” Lopez added.

    He said the lower income group gets a lower tax bracket, which makes the tax reform progressive and not regressive or anti-poor.

    “The sugary products, they’re telling us in their proposal that since they sell to the sari-sari store, consumed by poor people . . . it will affect the users. Normally, that’s mass taste,” Lopez said.

    Last week, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion bill, the first in a series of tax reforms that seek to lower personal income taxes while raising excise taxes on vehicles and petroleum products, expanding the value-added tax base and imposing tax on sugar-sweetened beverage and lotto winnings.

    The bill passed on second and third reading last Wednesday. It was certified urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

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