Employees’ lower income tax, other tax reforms will take effect January 2018

MANILA, Philippines - December 19 marked the day when President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill. After 20 years, TRAIN will replace the old system of income tax to make way for a “simpler and fairer” collection.

The tax reform is Duterte’s “Christmas gift” to the Filipinos.
The tax reform is Duterte’s “Christmas gift” to the Filipinos. Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Presidential Communications

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno confirmed that the law will immediately take effect in the first payout of January 2018. Diokno said, “This is the administrations biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people as 99% of the taxpayers will benefit from the simpler, fairer, and more efficient tax [program].”

Under TRAIN, several reforms were made to make sure that low-income earners will pay nothing to minimal taxes while high-earners will pay more. Several products such as petroleum and beverages with artificial sweeteners are given higher excise levies. Taxes were also removed from some basic commodities.

Here are some of the reforms under TRAIN:

Lower tax or tax-free
  • Employees earning P250,000 or below annually are now exempted from paying income tax.
  • 13th month pay and other bonuses amounting to P90,000 are also tax-free.
  • Basic goods such as milk, 3-in-1 coffee, 100% natural fruit and vegetable juices, meal replacement and medically indicated beverages are now tax-free
  • Beverages that uses coco sugar and stevia are also tax-free

Increase in Tax
  • Petroleum products such as LPG will now be taxed with P1 per kilo and will increase to P2 in 2019, P3 for 2020 and so on.
  • Diesel will also face a P2.50/liter tax increase in 2018, to P4.50 in 2019, P6 in 2020 and so on.
  • All gasoline fuel will now be taxed with P7/liter in 2018, P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020.
  • For beverages with caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, they will be taxed with P6/liter
  • Beverages with high fructose corn syrups such as sodas and colas will pay P12/liter
  • Local and imported coals are also expected to be taxed more

The government expects that the loss from lowering income tax will only be offset by the increase in petroleum tax.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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