2, 2013

NR # 3214

Makabayan bloc seeks VAT exemption of toll way services
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is seeking the classification of the services rendered by toll way operators as value-added tax exempt transactions to ease the burden on the already over-taxed public, especially those who incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. The proposal of the Makabayan bloc, which is composed of Reps. Fernando Hicap (Partylist, Anakpawis), Neri Javier Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus (Party-list, Gabriela), Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers) and James Mark Terry Ridon (Party-list, Kabataan), is contained in House Bill 346. “In these times of unbridled hikes in the prices of oil, food, and other commodities and services, it is the duty of Congress to work for economic relief for Filipino citizens. The clear-cut removal of VAT on toll way services in the current internal revenue law is the most logical option for Congress to do,” the Makabayan bloc said. The group said the VAT on toll way operations have jacked up all the toll fee rates wherein Class 1 vehicles travelling on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) from Balintawak to Sta. Ines pay a total of P218 from the previous rate of P195, while the highest toll for Class 1 is P272 from Tipo to Tarlac from the previous P243. Meanwhile, it said an ordinary car taking the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) would pay P96 from Alabang to Calamba, from the previous P86. It also cited that Skyway charges P165 for the elevated portion from Makati to Alabang, from the previous P147. Likewise, rates for trucks and buses have become even more expensive with the VAT imposition on toll way operations according to the group. The Makabayan bloc said in light of the 2011 decision of the Supreme Court favoring the VAT imposition on toll way services, the burden is on Congress to protect the people by removing toll way services from the VAT as a direct form of economic relief for the people. “Whatever government revenue losses incurred will be offset by the increased purchasing power of all Filipino citizens that will prove better in the long run in making the economy a vibrant and equitable one,” the Makabayan bloc said. The Bureau of Internal Revenue previously said that the government’s move to collect VAT on toll way operations will earn P2.3 billion to P3 billion annually which the agency said will ostensibly help fund the government’s social services and infrastructure projects. In House Bill 346, the Makabayan bloc sought the amendment of Section 109 (1) of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended by Republic Act 9337, so that services rendered by toll way operations shall be exempt from the VAT. (30) rbb

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