President Duterte on December 19, 2017 signed into law the Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) bill, the first tax reform package, for a fairer and simpler tax system for the Filipinos, allowing it to take effect starting January 1, 2018. While we celebrated the new year and were excited to start with a clean slate, we were taking the TRAIN law with us.
But what exactly does the TRAIN law entail? Clue: it’s not just tax exemption for wage-earners.
1. Increased take-home money and bonuses
Probably the only thing that delighted citizens: under the TRAIN law, workers with an annual salary of P250,000 is exempted from tax. Salaries that were once deducted 5% to 32% in tax rate now have 0% tax deduction from 2018 and beyond.
Tax exemption includes the mandated 13th month bonus and other bonuses. This means every employee can now take home more than they did the previous years. But since everything is a give-and-take process, some goods will be priced higher from now on.
2. Excise on sugar-sweetened beverage and cigarettes
It might come as a shock to you the next time you buy a bottle of your favorite soft drink that it’s a bit pricey, this is one effect of TRAIN law. Sugar-sweetened beverages, once without taxes, are now P6/liter while high fructose corn syrup beverages are at P12/liter.
Exempted from this are milk products, 100% natural fruit and vegetable juices, and ground, instant, and pre-packaged coffee products.
We felt the blow when S&R announced they are discontinuing their unlimited soda promo. Which other fast foods will follow suit?
A pack of cigarettes that costs P30 will now cost P32.50 this year and will increase in P2.5 increments until 2022. So if you buy a pack of cigarettes in 2022, it will damage your wallet to the tune of P40 and it might possibly change your life. A 4% increase in taxes will be implemented starting 2023.
3. Increase on petroleum and automobile tax
Your #TravelGoals might be in danger. The TRAIN law imposes an 8-peso increase in petroleum products per liter this year. For diesel and kerosene, the once non-existent excise tax will now be at P2.50-P3/liter. Household gas LPG will have an added P1/liter. Taxes in petroleum and gas will gradually increase until 2020.
D lang ako naiyak… napahagulgol pa😭😭😭😭😭… Laslas pitaka sa sobrang mahal ng gas! Wahhhhhhhhhh😢😢😢
— rosemarie (@lalolalota) January 7, 2018
If you’re planning on buying a car in the near future, do it as soon as possible because automobiles aren’t exempt from excise tax. Vehicles worth P600,000 and below will have a 4% tax rate. Vehicles over P600,000 up to P1 Million will have a 10% increase, a 20% increase for vehicles priced above P1 million to P4 million, and 50% for vehicles above P4 million.
Hybrid cars are taxed half and electric vehicles and pick-ups are exempt from the rates. Taxes will increase by more than 10-20% in 2019.
4. Estate tax, donor tax and Higher Documentary Stamp Tax
Under the TRAIN law, a flat rate of 6% will be imposed on both estate and donor tax. In the old law, the net estate value last year went up to 20% if the estate was worth P200,000 and above. With the TRAIN law, estates worth P5 million and below will have zero tax rate, but P5 million and above will have 6% of the excess over P5 million.
In the previous law, donor’s tax goes up to 15% if the donor and the donee are related and 30% if they’re not. The donor’s tax is now at 6% regardless of the relationship between donor and donee.
Under the TRAIN law however, almost all Documentary Stamp Taxes have doubled.