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Ng: Tax reform to make Philippines globally competitive

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu business community is looking forward to the implementation of the government’s tax reform program.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Melanie Ng said the tax reform will make the Philippines compete globally.

"Undeniably our country has one of the highest income tax rates in the ASEAN region, and in order for us to be able to compete in the global arena, we hope the tax reform program will soon be adapted to help address the high cost of doing business and contribute to our global competitiveness," the business leader said on Tuesday during the Bureau of Internal Revenue's Medium Taxpayers Segmentation forum in Cebu City.

"We eagerly anticipate the current administration’s plan under President Rodrigo Duterte to overhaul our tax system," Ng said.

The government is now one big step closer to reforming the country’s tax system for the first time in over two decades–and providing a steady revenue stream to its ambitious infrastructure buildup–with the Senate’s approval of its version of the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).

Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III expressed hopes that both chambers could wrap up bicameral deliberations on the first of the government’s five tax reform packages in time for the submission of the final version to President Duterte by December–so that a new law to this effect could be signed and implemented as scheduled by January 2018.

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In a statement, Dominguez said “the Senate’s timely approval of its TRAIN version moves the government one big step closer to overhauling the tax system for the first time in two decades with the primary benefit going to 99 percent of the country’s taxpayers who are to get higher take-home pay as a result of substantial cuts in their personal income tax rates or–better–yet outright exemption from income taxation.”

Senate Bill (SB) 1592, the chamber’s version of the TRAIN, was sponsored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate ways and means committee.

She said the business sector continues to lobby for improved measures that would improve and strengthen revenue collection.

"The business community is your partner in progress. There is a lot more we can do together with increased understanding and compliance," the CCCI official said.

Ng pushed for continued communication and collaboration between the government and private sector to work towards a better and improved economy.

Ng said that collection of taxes provides the lifeblood for nation building.

"Taxes are the resource for government to be able to fulfill its responsibility to fund projects and programs for the greater good of our country and our people," the official added.

Proper collection of taxes will mean timely roll out of government projects and programs which will contribute to the country’s economic growth and development, she noted.

"This is why it is every citizen’s obligation to pay taxes. It is the obligation of every business to be compliant and pay the right taxes," Ng said.

She also noted the measures being undertaken to encourage proper payment of taxes and improve taxpayers satisfaction by improving the processes at the bureau to be faster and more efficient as part of its advocacy to ease the way of doing business through taxpayer segmentation and electronic payment system.

She further urged the tax bureau to improve the tax payment process through better engagement with the taxpayers. (FREEMAN) 

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