Senators are poised to pass the Duterte administration’s multibillion revenue-raising package before Congress adjourns anew for its traditional year-end Christmas recess, despite a three-day delay in the resumption of sessions due to the country’s hosting of Asean meetings.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III said on Wednesday that their original target date to approve the Palace-endorsed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill, projected to raise over P150 billion on its first year of implementation, may have to be adjusted.
“Yes. We will be delayed, [but] only by three days because of the Asean events,” Sotto told the BusinessMirror.
Sen. Juan Edgardo M. Angara, who is sponsoring the passage of the Senate version of the TRAIN bill as chairman of the Senate’s Ways and Means committee, however, assured that senators remain on track to pass the administration’s revenue measure before their Christmas recess.
“Looks like it,” Angara said in a separate text message to the BusinessMirror.
Senators were supposed to reconvene regular sessions from November 13 to December 15, before adjourning for their Christmas vacation from December 16 to January 14.
The TRAIN bill, which was earlier endorsed by Malacañang for urgent passage, was approved on May 31 by the House of Representatives, where all tax bills emanate. Upon approval of the Senate version of the measure, the two chambers will need to convene a bicameral conference committee to reconcile and craft a final version of the revenue bill.
Earlier, Angara confirmed that the senators’ version of the money measure, embodied in Senate Bill (SB) 1592, will push for “lower, flat rate and simpler one-time tax filing” for self-employed individuals
“To really encourage payment of correct taxes, the Senate version of the first tax-reform package has made available to self-employed individuals and professionals a flat tax regime that is simpler and easier to comply,”
SB 1592 provides that self-employed individuals and professionals can choose between an 8-percent flat tax on gross sales or receipts to be filed only once a year, or the schedular personal income-tax rate with allowable deduction.
Angara added the 8-percent tax will be in lieu of the personal-income tax, which is currently filed quarterly, and the percentage tax, filed monthly.
“Congress is making a distinction between the tax treatment of compensation income earners and self-employed individuals and professionals because we recognize the need to really simplify the process and make it easier for them to comply and pay correct taxes,” he said.