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Lawmakers Uncertain That TRAIN 2 Will Be Passed By Year-End

Lawmakers on Friday expressed doubts that the second package of the administration’s tax reform program will be passed this year.

Passing the second package of the tax reform law, also known as Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 2, within the year was one of the legislative priorities mentioned in President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address. TRAIN 2 aims to lower corporate income tax and reduce fiscal incentives offered to businesses.

Rep. Dakila Cua, chair of the House ways and means committee, said that the recent shuffle in leadership in Congress may affect who would end up having to shepherd the tax reform bill. Cua said that it is possible that new House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would want to take over committee leadership. He added that as an economist, Arroyo would be able to keenly look into the TRAIN 2. However, despite of these setbacks, Cua said that they are taking steps to follow the President’s directive.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, on the other hand, said that the bill will face an uphill battle once it is forwarded to the Senate. He previously said that tax reform is not a part of the Senate’s priorities. According to Zubiri, some businesses have told them that they would move out of the Philippines if fiscal incentives are removed. However, according to the British Chamber of Commerce, lowering corporate income taxes would make it more enticing for British firms to invest in the Philippines.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, British Chamber of Commerce Chair Chris Nelson said that several British firms are looking forward to investing in the country’s retail and infrastructure sectors. Reducing the corporate tax, getting companies to do more investments, is a great move. It needs to be balanced, of course, with the fiscal incentives.


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