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‘Sin‘ Tax take up to P173B on eased lockdowns

THE government’s excise tax collection on “sin” products climbed to P173.1 billion as of end-July as lockdown restrictions were eased compared to a year ago.

Latest preliminary data obtained by BusinessMirror showed that the sin tax collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs from January to July this year posted a double-digit growth of 25.5 percent from P138 billion in the same period in 2020.

Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Teresa Habitan said the reduction in quarantine restrictions helped improve the government’s sin tax collection.

“Less quarantine restrictions overall until end July, e.g. no alcohol ban compared to same period in 2020,” Habitan explained to BusinessMirror in a message.

Most of the excise taxes collected during the seven-month period came from tobacco products at P104.2 billion, reflecting a 34-percent spike from last year’s P77.7 billion.

Alcohol came next to tobacco products, yielding for the government P48.4 billion. This is also higher by 27 percent from P38.1 billion in the same period in 2020.

Unlike tobacco and alcohol products, the tax haul from sweetened beverages shrank by 7.1 percent to P20.5 billion from P22.1 billion.

Habitan expressed optimism that the government will attain its P297.8 billion full-year collection target despite the re-imposition of stricter lockdown measures to address the Delta-fueled surge in Covid-19 cases.

“We’re hoping we will still meet the goal,” Habitan said.

A substantial portion of total sin taxes collected goes to the implementation of the universal health-care program.

In 2020, total sin tax collection dropped by 3.27 percent to P260.58 billion from P269.4 billion in 2019 amid the economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, the government exceeded last year its downgraded goal of P235.3 billion.

Under Republic Act (RA) 11346 that was signed into law in July 2019, excise taxes on tobacco products were further increased to P50 per pack this year from P45 per pack a year ago.

Excise taxes on alcohol, heated tobacco products, and vapor products were also further raised under RA 11467.

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