ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Former finance chief calls for tax reform
Speaking at the first Punongbayan & Araullo business forum, Margarito Teves, who now chairs Think Tank, Inc., said the President should consider a number of measures to help address the inefficiencies and constraints faced by tax collection agencies.
“Congress will not move unless the President says so. That is the nature of politics in the Philippines . . . that is why the President should capitalize on his popularity,” said Teves, a former lawmaker from Negros.
Among the measures the President should endorse is the increase in the compensation of tax collectors to reduce the risk of connivance with erring taxpayers.
As an example, Teves said that regional collectors are paid about P30,000 but are tasked to collect billions for the government.
The judiciary, he added, should also expedite cases against tax evaders to raise public awareness.
Teves’ pronouncements were in reaction to a question at the forum as to why the Bureau of Internal Revenue consistently misses its collections target.
“[The government] should also look into restructuring the system, a reverse consumption tax rather than on income,” he said.
The proposal would give consumers more buying power, “but there has to be some protection for the poor,” he added.
Another measure broached by the former finance chief is increasing sin taxes as local prices of such products are still among the lowest in the region.
“All this taken together will help improve tax collections,” he added.
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