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TMAP backs proposal for income tax cuts

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 14, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) is backing proposals seeking the reduction of income tax rates as well as the adjustment of tax brackets to reflect the rising costs of goods.

In a position paper submitted to the Ways and Means Committee of both Houses of Congress, the TMAP proposed the lowering of the top individual income tax rate to 20 to 30 percent from the current 32 percent to increase disposable income, improve the living standards of Filipinos and fuel the economy.

“This is to properly consider the change in the consumer price index through the years and to align our tax rates with those of our Asean neighbors,” said TMAP president Rina R. Manuel.

According to the TMAP, the individual income tax rate should at least be the same as that for corporations, which is 30 percent or even lower in order to make the Philippine workforce more competitive with it’s Asean neighbors.

The 32-percent tax on taxable income of P500,000 is the third highest in the Asean region after Vietnam and Thailand at 35 percent.  Others only tax from 10 percent (Thailand) to 25 percent (Myanmar).

TMAP, however, pointed out that the 35-percent rate is imposed on a top tax base equivalent to P5.4 million for Thailand and P2 million for Vietnam – significantly higher than the Philippines’ P500,000.

The group also proposed the exemption of “marginal income earners” from paying taxes, noting that even a P10,000 annual taxable income is taxed at five percent.

TMAP also suggested the simplification of income taxation of individuals to enhance compliance and help widen the tax base. “This simplified structure for self-employed individuals/professionals, however, will require further study and consultation with the affected sectors.

It proposed that the tax base of self-employed individuals for the availment of the 40-percent optional standard deduction (OSD) be based on gross income instead of “gross sales/receipts”.

An OSD is an allowable deduction from professional/business income of the persons who are entitled use this kind of deduction in lieu of the itemized deduction, in the maximum amount of, in the case of individual taxpayer, 40 percent  of gross sales or gross receipts and in the case of corporation and partnership, 40 percent  of gross income during the taxable year.

As far as the Bureau of Internal Revenue is concerned, any move to lower income tax rates should be matched with a corresponding reduction in the revenue targets set by the government for the BIR.

“Any tax eroding measure should be accompanied by a reduction of the revenue goal,” BIR commissioner Kim Henares said when asked to comment on renewed calls for the government to lower income tax rates.
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