Ledesma: Tax

TRAIN is a gift of the Duterte administration to the small income earners which comprise over 99 percent of our population.

Some critics scoff at the new tax measure, but to a wage earner of P250,000 annually the tax exemption of P50,000 can tell the difference between misery and modest relief.

Those who belong to the higher income bracket will also pay lesser taxes than before and this definitely will translate to the significant benefits.

Despite the relief that the new tax measures guarantees there are quarters who look at the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) grudgingly and differently alleging among others that since higher taxes are to be imposed on other essential commodities like coal and fuel there will be consequential increases in the cost of transport and essential commodities.

In short, the expected benefits from tax exemption will just check out by the increases of cost of commodities and services.

Realistically, however, the lifestyle of the poor does not support this apprehension. Their needs are very basic. Rice, vegetable and other sources of protein life fish and poultry meat cost.

A tax cut of P50,000 for example will go a long way. P198,200 tax cut from those who earns a million a year is by no way a pittance.

But transport and labor leaders will always have their last say if only to assert their importance and their role which under Train has or will become irrelevant.

It is funny how someone who wants to be heard argues that those engage in underground economy will end up paying more taxes than they do today.

I do not know where that logic comes from but the fact that they are operating underground simply means they do not pay taxes at all.

What would really be an impact on tax dodgers is the expected no-nonsense government campaign to run after those who elude paying their tax obligations.

Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez has an efficient tax collector in the person of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte for one. But actually he has a well-motivated BIR crew which can spot a tax dodger from afar.

The elusive Lucia Tan settles his tax obligation of over P7-billion while Mighty Cigarette yielded to Duterte's demand to pay the government P25-billion.

The mighty Prieto and Rufino clan which had been lording it over the so-called mile long property had lost their hold on the prime real estate and is facing some serious cases of tax deficits and back rentals to name a few.

Any which way you look at it, Train is indeed a gift for the poor but will be demanding from the rich not only to pay tax but to pay the right amount of tax. This will not actually be a big burden to them since Duterte's campaign against corruption will give them the assurance that they will not pay multiple taxes to hungry detergents in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Congress, and the New People's Army.

Higher taxes are imposed on the mining sector, operator of coal-fired power plants, sin products like liquor and cigarettes to name a few. Some medicines for ailments especially those for senior citizens are more over tax exempt.

Train proceeds will generate substantial amount of money which will run to billions. This will fund the major infrastructures that are already in the pipeline. Some obstinate Duterte bashers refuse to accept the benefits that the new tax reforms will bring to the country.

Aside from the huge tax cuts the mega projects that will be implemented starting 2018 will actually generate an unprecedented jobs thus fueling further the vibrant economy.

Coal and fuel cost may increase but it will rev up capital on renewable clean energy among them hydropower plant and solar power which can drastically bring down the cost of energy.

Critics can demonize Duterte in the usual fashion that they are wont to do and hate Secretary Dominguez for the new tax measure, but think and picture what these will bring to the country.

You have more bridges crossing the Pasig river and railways crisscrossing Metro Manila and radiating towards north and southern Luzon. In four to five years barring Court temporary restraining orders.

Commuting will be faster and cheaper and productivity and efficiency enhanced in no uncertain terms. There will be subway in Cebu and the Mindanao Railway System will start with the first segment that would link up the growth centers in Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao del Sur to start with.

All over the country, there will be more roads, bridges and airports to be constructed or upgraded.

This will be a grand celebration for the marginalized poor and the emergence of a bigger and stable middle class. Surely this is worth the tax you and I are paying for.
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