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House won’t pass income tax cuts

SPEAKER Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the measure seeking to lower income tax rates in the country would not likely get passed before Congress adjourns session in October because of the lack of time to present an alternative to recoup the projected P30-billion loss in revenue.

Although he supports the bill, Belmonte said he does not want to give false hopes to the public at this point and “we don’t like to toss the ball to the President since from the start he has said [we must] find a substitute source of revenue.”

Belmonte said the House is tied up with deliberations on the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget, Bangsamoro Basic Law and other important measures that have to be approved before Congress adjourns its sessions beginning Oct. 10.

But Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, said it is incumbent upon Congress to come up with a version of the measure that is “acceptable to all.”

“Along with the Senate leadership, we have decided to hammer out the fine details with the Executive before we finalize it,” Quimbo said, denying that the Palace has rejected the proposal.

“In fact, the President has asked that the discussions be fast-tracked so we can have this major legislation before he leaves office,” he added.

House Bill 4829, authored by Quimbo, is also among the 13 pending bills, which seek to restructure the income taxes imposed on individuals.

The bill proposes the revision of income taxes for compensation income earners, self-employed and professionals, and corporations through simplification of tiers and rates, and indexation to inflation.

Sources said the finance department is blocking the passage of the measure in the light of the passage of the new law raising to P82,000 from P30,000 the tax cap for bonuses.

The finance department had earlier warned that raising the tax exemption cap on bonuses would result in revenue loss to the government of an estimated P30 billion per year.  Other tax experts on the contrary pegged the expected revenue losses at only P3 billion.

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