‘Don’t take advantage of transition,’ retailers urged

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Western Visayas called on retailers not to take advantage of the tax reform law by imposing appropriate prices of basic and prime commodities.

Rebecca Rascon, regional director of DTI-Western Visayas, said the transition brought by the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law is a very “temporary thing” thus, retailers should not unfairly control the prices for their advantage.

Amid reports that prices of some basic and prime goods have already increased, Rascon reaffirmed the previous pronouncement of the DTI that the tax reform law has no significant effect to the cost of these goods.

Basic necessities under the DTI’s monitoring include products like soap, milk, coffee, salt, bread, and sardines. Prime commodities, meanwhile, are noodles and all kinds of canned goods except sardines.

“Based on the study, the tax reform law has a minimal impact to prime and basic goods, resulting from movement in the distribution cost. But locally, there are no significant increases in prices due to Train,” she added.

In December last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Train Act, which exempts taxpayers with an annual income of P250,000 and below from paying personal income tax.

As the tax reform law benefits minimum wage earners, it also imposes excise tax on sweetened beverages, petroleum, automobile, tobacco, and coal.

The DTI-Western Visayas continues to conduct monitoring of prices of basic and prime commodities whether these are still compliant to the suggested retail prices (SRPs).

Rascon said when retailers are doing overpricing of the commodities, consumers would look for other stores that have competitive, basically lower, prices.

One determinant in increasing the price is the “location” where the products were sourced from, she said, adding that if consumers feel that the increase is too much they just have to report it to the DTI.

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