Makabayan lawmakers file tax reform bill

·Contributor
·2 min read
Makabayan bloc lawmakers (left to right) ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel and Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas. (Photos: Facebook)
Makabayan bloc lawmakers (left to right) ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel and Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas. (Photos: Facebook)

Members of progressive Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives have filed a new tax reform package that would set an individual’s maximum tax rate at 20%, and extend tax exemption to those earning P400,000.

The bill, entitled Tax Reform Act for the Masses and Middle Class (TRAMM), aims “to address imbalances brought by regressive tax reform laws such as TRAIN and CREATE that offer little benefits to poor and middle-class families.”

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel and Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, believe that their version of the tax reform bill could provide relief to the Filipino working class who are supposedly sidestepped by anti-poverty tax packages.

“Reducing income tax rates for working families will not only improve their way of life, but also strengthen their purchasing power which will boost overall domestic demand for consumer goods,” said Castro.

The government currently collects taxes based on an individual’s gross income, which could range from 5% to 32%. If TRAMM becomes a law, income tax would be reduced from 1% to 20% range, and those earning P400,000 and below annually will be exempted from income tax collection.

Additional tax exemptions will also be given to individuals with dependents who are senior citizens and persons with disabilities, raising the maximum tax-free bonuses to P150,000, and would mandate the Bureau of Internal Revenue “to set up a progressive, 10-bracket (in the minimum) personal income tax schedule.”

WIth this, the Makabayan bloc believes that the industries in the country would be more competitive, especially since the Philippines has one of the highest tax rates compared to countries like Singapore.

“Our country remains among the most unequal in the world with income shares of the poorest and richest segments of the population almost stagnant for decades and now, personal income tax rates for the poor and middle-class citizens in the Philippines are even higher than rates in other countries such as Singapore,” Castro said.

“With increasing prices of basic goods and services, the passage of this bill is urgently needed. We urge our fellow lawmakers to give high priority to this bill and swiftly enact it into law,” Castro added.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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