SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said on Sunday that the upper chamber was targeting to have the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill passed on third and final reading before Congress goes on recess on October 11.
The TRAIN bill is being deliberated upon at the Senate plenary after it was sponsored by Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chairman of the ways ad means committee on September 20.
“That is exactly the deadline. Pass the train bill before going on break,” Pimentel said in a text message when asked if the Senate intends to approve the tax reform bill before congress goes on a recess.
President Rodrigo Duterte certified the proposed tax measure as urgent and the House of Representatives approved it on final reading in May.
The measure contains the first package of the Duterte administration’s tax reform package, which includes lowering the personal income tax and expanding the value added tax base for the government to raise funds for its ambitious “Build, Build Build” program.
Under the Senate version of the bill, employees with an annual gross income of up to P150,000 will be exempted from tax while those with gross income of up to P82,000 will continue to enjoy tax exemptions on their 13th month pay and other bonuses.
The proposal, Angara said, was in line with the President’s campaign promise to exempt workers earning P25,000 and below monthly from income tax.
About 7.5 million individual income taxpayers are expected to benefit from lower income tax rates.
The Senate version also seeks to impose lower excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages although a P6 per liter excise tax will be implemented on cooking gas (liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene).
Pimentel added that Congress was also planning to convene the bicameral conference committee on the TRAIN bill during the break. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA