• PH tax effort improves to 13.72% at end-Nov

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    THE national government’s tax collection as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), or the tax-to-GDP ratio, improved to 13.72 percent of GDP at the end-November of 2015 against 13.45 percent in the same period in 2014, the Department of Finance (DOF) said over the weekend.

    An analyst said the 13.72 percent tax to GDP ratio was commendable but noted that there are not enough laws that could further boost the government’s tax effort.

    In absolute terms, tax revenue in the 11 months to November rose 7.2 percent to P1.67 trillion from the year-earlier level of P1.558 trillion, the DOF’s latest economic bulletin showed.

    The DOF said tax collection during the period reflected improvements to tax administration as there was no new tax measure implemented during the period.

    For his part, Emilio Neri Jr., Bank of the Philippine Islands vice president and economist, said the sustained improvement in the tax effort was commendable as it proves that better administration of collection continues to bear fruit.

    “The number remains below the 1990s peak–close to 16 percent, I believe–however, as not enough legislative reforms were put in place in the last five and a half years,” he observed.

    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) accounted for bulk of the tax collected in the 11 months as its collections increased by 8.8 percent to P1.327 trillion from P1.220 trillion in the comparative 2014 period.

    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P329 billion, or a 1.6-percent increase from the P324 billion generated a year earlier “as oil taxes dropped due to lower international prices,” while other agencies accounted for a further 3.6-percent increase in collections to P14.1 billion from P13.6 billion.

    The DOF said overall revenue collected rose 12.1 percent in the 11-month period while expenditures expanded faster by 13 percent.

    As a result, the national government’s deficit in the period stood at the equivalent of 0.38 percent of GDP, wider than the 0.23 percent deficit posted in the 2014 corresponding period.

    Meanwhile, government debt in relation to GDP dropped to 45.4 percent at end-November from 46.5 percent a year earlier, the DOF said, tracing the drop to the combination of robust revenues and debt management measures.

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