THE Duterte administration needs money to ensure the implementation and completion of priority
projects designed to speed up the tempo of the country’s socio-economic development.
Admittedly, there are still taxpayers who did not properly declare their assets and incomes,
drawing the ire of not only government authorities but also the ordinary but law-abiding citizens.
Aware of this, the powerful Senate committee on ways and means is now discussing the pros
and cons of declaring a massive tax amnesty aimed at boosting state revenues.
Sen. Sonny Angara said the amnesty will encourage those in the informal and formal sectors
to settle their unpaid taxes without fear of civil, criminal and administrative penalties.
“This, I believe, is a win-win scenario for the government and for the taxpayers to have a
clean slate,” said Angara, committee chair, during last Monday’s hearing on several amnesty bills.
Under the said bills, all unpaid national internal revenue taxes, including value-added tax
(VAT) and excise taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs, will be covered by the amnesty.
Taxpayers who wish to avail themselves of the benefits of the proposed tax amnesty will only
be required to pay five percent of their total net worth instead of the total tax deficiency.
But the proposed amnesty excludes those with pending cases involving unexplained or
unlawfully acquired wealth, violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, and tax cases subject of
final and executory judgment by the courts.
The amnesty is expected to generate P26 billion revenue, which will augment the funding for
the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, according to the Department of Finance (DoF).
Likewise, the additional P26 billion will lead to higher internal revenue allotment (IRA)
for the country’s local government units (LGUs) without having to increase taxes.
In the view of many, giving tax cheats the chance to legitimize and settle their unpaid
taxes is a move in the right direction.