NO less than House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez objected to the idea of removing the Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions of senior citizens and persons with disability.
In an interview, Alvarez, himself already a senior citizen, said this proposal of the Department of Finance (DoF) is unpopular and may have difficulty getting the support of the members of the House.
“I am against making the senior citizens and PWD’s suffer. We will study the DoF measure very closely to make sure that it will be fair to all concerned,” Alvarez said.
He intends to discuss with the DoF its tax reform package and how to approve it without compromising the other sectors of the society.
The DoF has submitted a tax reform package to Congress which includes a proposal to lower tax rates for workers earning not over P250,000.
However, it was learned that the government will lose about P179 billion revenue if income tax is lowered.
To cover up losses, the DoF proposed other tax adjustment such as removing VAT exemptions and increasing excise tax for the seniors and PWDs.
The Committee on Ways and Means is set to deliberate on the DoF proposed tax reform package.
While she supports the tax reform plan, Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy expressed reservations on reducing the benefits given to seniors and PWDs.
“The House Committee on Ways and Means has to establish what really is inside the package. It can be a cornupia or a pandora. So far, what we have seen more of the what the latter contains,” Herrera-Dy said.
”A congressional study of the proposal has to be directed towards determining whether or not the bigger sector of society--the low and lower- middle income earners - will benefit most. Just leave the senior citizens and PWD’s out of the haggle,” she added.
For Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said the tax proposal of the finance department will not benefit the poor.
Casilao said that while some would benefit from the restructuring of personal income tax, the effect om other provision would sweeply affect the poor sectors.
“The farmers, contractual workers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, urban poor, ambulant vendors and informal workers are not to benefit from the restructuring of the income tax, but would be distressed by the VAT expansion and hike in oil taxes,” Casilao added.