By Mario Casayuran
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV asked today the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to ensure that its program to intensify inspection of businesses would not be used as a tool for harassment and corruption.
“We laud the BIR’s effort to go after tax evaders, but the agency should also guarantee that they will target large businesses and not harass our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),’’ Aquino said.
Aquino said small businesses have weak foundations to fight those who harass them.
“Lalo na ngayong tumataas ang presyo ng bilihin, inaasahan ng mga pamilya ang kanilang maliit na negosyo, tulad ng sari-sari store at carenderia. Tiyakin dapat ng BIR na hindi papahirapan ng mga inspectors ang mga kababayan nating nasa laylayan,” he added. (The BIR said make sure that its inspectors do not make life hard for small businessmen as they face threats of high prices.)
Aquino earlier pushed for the exemption of micro enterprises earning less than P250,000 annually from paying the required percentage taxes, on top of their income tax exemption, under the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) Act.
Aquino is a former social entrepreneur and long-time advocate for MSME development.
His first bill enacted into law, Republic Act 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act, has established more than 800 Negosyo Centers around the Philippines to help Filipinos put up and manage successful businesses.
Aquino said he also filed Senate Bill 169 or the Small Business Tax Reform Act, which seeks to provide small businesses with a lower income tax rate, VAT exemption and simplified filing of taxes.
Under the measure, all small businesses shall be exempt from payment of income tax for the first three years of its operation from date of establishment and will be subjected to lower income tax rates thereafter.
“This bill also proposes the lowering of the income tax rate for MSEs and an exemption from VAT, among other methods to help our small businesses grow,” Aquino said.