By Melissa Luz T. Lopez
EXCISE TAX collections rose nearly 82% year on year in January as the new tax law kicked in, according to data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said collections from cigarette, cars and sweetened drinks hit P22.078 billion last month, up 81.7% from January 2017, while also exceeding the P20.501-billion target by 7.7%.
The statement was quoting BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, who reported the collections to the DoF’s executive committee.
Signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte as Republic Act No. 10963, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act removed some exemptions to value-added tax as it increased tax rates for fuel, cars, tobacco, coal, minerals, documentary stamps, foreign currency deposit units, capital gains for shares not traded on the stock exchange, and stock transactions.
It also introduced a new tax covering cosmetic procedures.
The BIR said tobacco excise collections doubled to P12.139 billion in January, while also exceeding the P7.944-billion target for the category.
Meanwhile, higher duties on automobiles soared to P443.34 million, more than double the P208.01 million collected in January last year and 29.4% higher than the P342.561 million goal for the month.
Taxes generated by sugar-sweetened drinks brought in P2.5 billion in revenue.
In particular, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc. paid P1.186 billion in taxes, followed by Pepsi Cola Philippines, Inc. with P666 million, ARC Refreshments Corp. with P293.015 million, Nestlé Philippines, Inc. with P143.5 million; and Inter Beverages Philippines with P112 million.
Other big firms which remitted the new taxes are Asia Brewery, Inc. with P18 million; Liwayway Marketing, P16.049 million; SMB Inc., P10.726 million; and Zesto Corp., P7 million.
TRAIN imposed an excise rate of P6 per liter on drinks containing caloric or non-caloric sweetener and P12 per liter on drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup. The higher prices seek to discourage Filipinos from consuming soft drinks and similar unhealthy beverages.
Instant coffee mixes and milk are exempted from these taxes.
Early this month, Mr. Dulay said preliminary data showed that BIR collections overall rose 15% year on year.
Higher taxes from new items are expected to more than offset lower rates for personal income taxes for those earning below P2 million, from which the DoF expects a P10-billion monthly reduction in collections.
The BIR is targeting to collect P2.039 trillion in taxes in 2018, which is 11.48% more than the P1.829 trillion goal it initially set early last year. If realized, this would also be 14.6% higher than the P1.779 trillion collected in 2017.