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Salceda asks PBBM to certify Ease of Paying Taxes Act as urgent; House tax chair wants VAT refunds for tourists, stricter tax racketeering provisions in law

July 29th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is asking President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to certify the Ease of Paying Taxes Act, now being deliberated in the Senate as SB 2224, as an urgent measure, allowing the bill to be approved on 2nd and 3rd reading in one day in the Senate plenary. The House already approved its version under HB 4125, which Salceda principally authored.

“I think it’s time to modernize the way we administer taxes. Bringing the tax system into the 21st century will be a PBBM legacy. So, respectfully, I request the President to certify this measure as urgent, considering that he has already mentioned this as a priority in both SONAs,” Salceda said.

Salceda adds that “most of the key issues have already been settled anyway, including the concern among enterprises that the shift to an invoice-only system would cost those who are unable to get their receivables on time.”

The measure is in the period of interpellation in the Senate.

The Ease of Paying Taxes Act will simplify tax filings for small and medium enterprises, allow most tax processes to be done online, shift to an invoice system to accelerate VAT refunds, and create a special division in the BIR for small and medium taxpayers.

“We are a highly global people, and the EOPT will allow taxpayers abroad, especially OFWs, to update their tax records and even file for TINs anywhere. Many of them want to invest here, or settle land issues here, but they cannot, because they can’t do their taxes remotely.”

“As a result, we’ve been missing out on potential OFW investments, all while we try to attract FDI and make foreign capital come easier. It’s time we put family first.”

Salceda also says the House delegation plans to introduce the VAT refund for tourists, which the Private Sector Advisory Council identified as a priority measure, and provisions against syndicated or large-scale use of fraudulent receipts, which the Bureau of Internal Revenue requested from the Congress. Both measures have already made it past the House, as HB 7292 and HB 8144 respectively.

“We have already discussed this with my counterpart, Senator Win Gatchalian, who is considering it. Hopefully his colleagues will also agree. The VAT refund for tourists will boost tourist spending and align us with international best practice under the destination principle for VAT. And the anti-tax racketeering provision will clamp down on a practice that has cost the national coffers at least P100 billion annually based on the BIR’s estimates,” Salceda said.

“We have assurances from our Senate counterparts that this is a priority for their leadership, and we expect to meet in bicameral conference committee very soon, hopefully right before the House begins budget hearings,” Salceda adds.

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