BIR clarifies COVID-19 drugs VAT exemption

Published October 15, 2021, 11:25 AM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said Friday, Oct. 15, that only medicines and medical devices directly used for the treatment of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are exempted from the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) implemented last June.

Bureau of Internal Revenue

The BIR issued the clarification in response to various questions and concerns by patients and health care providers on Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No.99-2021.

It said the VAT exemption started on June 17 when the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) released the consolidated list of drugs utilized for the treatment of COVID-19.

The list also contained the updated generic names of medicines exempt from VAT and used for the treatment of serious illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, tuberculosis, high cholesterol, mental, and kidney diseases.

The BIR pointed out that tax refund will not be granted for the supposed erroneously paid VAT on local purchases and importation.

“A tax refund will be allowed only in cases where there is a change of status from VAT to non-VAT,” the press statement added.

For more detailed clarification, the bureau asked interested parties to read the RMC at