Bills on higher tobacco, alcohol taxes get final House nod

MANILA The House of Representatives on Monday night approved on third and final reading two measures seeking to raise the excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products to significantly curb consumption of both sin products and increase funding for the government's Universal Health Care (UHC) program.

With 187 affirmative votes, seven negative votes, and one abstention, the chamber passed House Bill 8677, which seeks to increase excise tax rates for tobacco by PHP2.50 every year, starting July 2019 until 2022.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law increased excise tax on tobacco to PHP32.50 from PHP30 in January 2018 and increased it to PHP35 on July 2018.

The bill seeks to raise the cigarette excise tax rate to PHP37.50 per pack by July 2019, PHP40 for 2020, PHP42.50 for 2021, and PHP45 for 2022.

After that, the rate would be raised 4 percent every July annually, starting 2023.

Meanwhile, House Bill 8618, which aims to slap higher excise taxes on distilled spirits, wines, and fermented liquors, was approved with 189 affirmative votes, seven negative votes, and no abstention.

The current 20 percent ad valorem tax imposed on distilled spirits shall be increased to 22 percent, while specific tax rates per proof liter of PHP30, PHP35, PHP40, PHP45 shall be imposed from 2019 to 2022.

The specific tax rate shall be increased by 7 percent annually, starting 2023.

The bill seeks to impose a 15 percent ad valorem and a single specific tax of PHP650 per liter on sparkling wines.

Still wines and carbonated wines containing 14 percent of alcohol or less will be taxed PHP40, while those with 25 percent alcohol content or less will be taxed PHP80.

An annual increase of 7 percent shall be imposed, starting 2020 for these wine products.

For beer, the tax per liter will increase by PHP2.60 in 2019. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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