DOF pitches fiscal priority reforms to Congress

Published August 19, 2022, 2:45 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Fiannce (DOF) vowed to work with Congress for the passage of priority reforms under the Marcos administration’s Medium Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) that aims to steer the country back to a high growth trajectory.

In a statement on Friday, Aug. 19, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said President Marcos would push for the passage of the remaining tax reform packages of the Duterte administration, along with other key policy measures that would help accelerate economic recovery.

The DOF is pushing for reforms in real property valuation through the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform, a priority bill of President Marcos, Diokno said.

Related bills are pending in the Committees on Ways and Means of both chambers of Congress—House of Representatives and the Senate.

Diokno said that the proposed legislation aims to broaden the tax base used for property and property-related taxes of the national and local governments and promote the development of a just, equitable, and efficient real property valuation system.

“The measure mandates the adoption of internationally accepted real property valuation standards, rationalization of the process of valuation, and establishment of a single valuation base for taxation,” Diokno said.

“The bill’s urgent enactment will assist the LGUs [local government units] in optimizing revenue collections, which in turn, will promote genuine local autonomy,” he added.

The DOF also aims to reduce the number of tax rates on passive income and financial intermediaries through the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (PIFITA) Bill.

“PIFITA is aimed at making the taxation of passive income, financial intermediaries, and financial transactions simpler, fairer, and more efficient,” Diokno explained.

Related bills went through a first hearing last Aug. 17, at the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The DOF also proposes to rationalize the Mining Fiscal Regime to increase government share by imposing a single fiscal regime applicable to all mining agreements. The proposed legislation also seeks to encourage full public disclosure on extractive industries.

The House of Representatives passed the said bill on third reading in the previous Congress. Albay Second District Representative and House Committee on Ways and Means Chairperson Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda refiled the bill in the 19th Congress.

Diokno previously identified the mining industry as a growth sector that could potentially support the economy’s long-term expansion.

Meanwhile, the DOF is pursuing the imposition of value added tax (VAT) on digital goods and services to level the playing field between traditional and digital businesses.

“This bill clarifies that goods or properties including digital or electronic in nature, and services including those rendered electronically, are subject to VAT,” said Diokno.

As part of the government’s climate mitigation efforts, the DOF also plans to impose excise tax on single-use plastic (SUP) bags.

“The bill proposes to impose a 20-peso excise tax per kilogram of single-use plastics removed from the place of production or released from the customs house,” said Secretary Diokno.

Substitute bills for the proposed VAT on digital goods and services and excise tax on SUP bags were approved by the House Committee on Ways and Means on Wednesday, August 17.

The DOF also supports the passage of the Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension Reform Bill; the Capital Market Development Bill; the Livestock Development and Competitiveness Bill; and the bills introducing amendments to the Land Bank and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. Charter.