THE Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) has welcomed the inclusion of an “enhanced value-added tax (VAT) refund system” for export sales in the Lower House-approved comprehensive tax reform package.
In a statement on Friday, PhilExport said it was pleased with the system as provided under House Bill (HB) 5636. The tax reform bill was approved on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives on May 31.
Under the refund scheme, exporters must be given their actual refund or informed of the denial of their application for refund within 90 days of the filing of the VAT refund application.
In earlier position papers submitted to legislators, PhilExport relayed the hardships exporters encounter in getting VAT refunds for their export sales, with some reportedly unable to get back the accumulated VAT they had paid for years.
However, it expressed disappointment that indirect export sales were not included in the zero VAT rate and refund system, saying this will have an adverse effect on local suppliers to export processing zones in the Philippines.
In appealing to retain the zero VAT exemption for indirect exporters, PhilExport said it helps direct exporters to be price competitive while easing their cash flow, as they do not have to advance payments of VAT for locally sourced raw materials and services.
It also encourages exporters to source from domestic producers of goods and services; thus, increasing the overall local trade, creating inclusive growth, and expanding value-added of industries, it added.
Moreover, it motivates domestic industry to upgrade quality and develop upscale products for the international market, while helping to diversify local industries to serve both local and foreign markets and promoting job creation to help reduce poverty.
Meanwhile, the trade association said it is opposed to the imposition of an excise tax on sweetened beverages as recommended under HB 5636.
The umbrella organization of domestic exporters said an excise tax of P10 per liter of sugar-sweetened beverage will raise the prices of certain goods including coffee, powdered concentrate, and tea drinks.