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#FillInTheTax: Things Congress Can Tax After #VanityTax

One for you, nineteen for me.

| January 13, 2017

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As if we haven’t encountered enough crazy from our lawmakers last year, the House of Representatives started our 2017 with a proposal to impose additional 10-30% excise tax on beauty products and services. In a plea to the Department of Finance, AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe called for lower house support for his vanity tax, saying it is a better alternative to imposing additional excise tax on fuel products.

He illustrated his argument: “Ang lipstick P300, dagdagan mo ng P30. Siguro naman ang isang taong nagli-lipstick ay di naman magiging pabigat ang P30 sa kaniya, para sa isang lipstick…Kung talagang mabigat na ‘wag ka na mag-makeup, mabubuhay ka naman.” On the other hand, “‘Pag tinaas mo ang gasolina, tataas ang bilihin, tataas ang presyo ng transportasyon, tataas po ang ating mga pagkain dahil ‘yan ay konektado sa lahat.”

The issue irked most of the netizens as evidenced by the trend #DontTaxMyBeauty created. Apparently, the government’s running out of budget so badly  that it  now resorts to a partly pathetic, partly misogynistic idea to source more public funds. So, while the lipsticks and liposuctions hang in the balance, let’s think of other “luxuries” that Congress can tax the hell out of.

8. Fitness tax

Via Giphy

As long as we’re taxing a “luxury” people pay for to improve their looks, why not impose excise tax on gym memberships? Yeah, let’s #TaxMyBody! If you can afford to pay a premium just to have someone shout at you to reach a goal you can very well do on your own, you can afford to add a premium to that premium. And who needs to achieve lean bodies when the other half of the population already have them because they have nothing to eat, right?


7. Starbucks tax

Or you know, any coffee place that sells what you can prepare yourself. Nothing screams status symbol and income disparity better than the brand logo slapped on your coffee cup that made your drink ten times overpriced–a logo that only the rich can afford. So, if you can pay luxuriously for what would’ve otherwise just cost you 10-peso sachet and hot water, maybe increasing the price by 10% more wouldn’t hurt, right?


6. Karaoke tax

Via Giphy

While this is a favorite pastime for Filipinos, this is a luxury we can do away with. We can sing anytime and anywhere; we don’t have to force other people to listen (and probably suffer). By the way, Youtube’s got your back with free minus one tracks for your sing-along sesh (that again, we don’t have to force other people to listen). Also, contrary to the popular belief, the scores won’t do much on your value as a person. There’s no serial killer on the loose beheading people with karaoke score below 85.

But if you really have to spend good money just to hear yourself sing louder (and forcing other people to listen!), you can afford to pay a little more for tax, right?


5. Pain tax

Via Giphy

Hey, here’s an idea: why not impose tax on something we can’t really afford, like getting hurt? Right?