#AskTheTaxWhiz: Social mitigating measures of tax reform law

Mon Abrea

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#AskTheTaxWhiz: Social mitigating measures of tax reform law
The Philippine Tax Whiz lets us know about provisions in the TRAIN law meant to help the poorest of the population

The price increases since the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law was passed have been really high. My father, who’s a jeepney driver already in his 60s, is now bringing home much less money even though he’s working longer hours. He says he has to spend more on fuel than he used to. This means less food for us, especially with the current prices.

I myself am running a small sari-sari store, and my customers are complaining about my prices – especially soft drinks since it has always been their favorite – but what can I do? The prices for my supplies are high as well. There are already people who want to stop TRAIN because of all this, but the government keeps saying that it has created programs meant to help us.

What exactly are those and how do I qualify for them?

When the TRAIN law passed, a specific provision was included to help the Filipino people transition into the new tax system. In fact, part of the revenues to be generated by TRAIN is going to be dedicated to these social mitigating measures. The benefits are: 

  • Unconditional cash transfers (UCTs)

An unconditional cash transfer program equivalent to P200 per month for 2018 (P300 per month for 2019 and for 2020) will be given to lower-income households. The following are qualified to avail of the UCTs:

  1. Households in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
  2. Beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program (pursuant to the Senior Citizens Act)
  3. Other poor households in the 1st to 7th income deciles of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
  • Fuel vouchers

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking to revive the Pantawid Pasada Program first implemented to fight the high fuel prices in 2011. P977 million has been allotted for 179,000 jeepney franchise holders for 2018. The guidelines for this voucher, however, have yet to be released. Based solely on TRAIN, you only need to be a jeepney franchise holder to qualify.

  • Fare discount

A 10% fare discount for all public utility vehicles (PUVs), with the exception of trucks for hire and school transport services. No specific guidelines have been provided aside from the provision in the TRAIN law, which means you need to be one of the following:

  1. A minimum wage earner
  2. Unemployed
  3. Part of the poorest 50% of the population
  • Rice Discount

Rice purchased from the National Food Authority (NFA) is subject to a 10% discount, up to a maximum of 20 kilos per month. You also need to be one of the following:

  1. A minimum wage earner
  2. Unemployed
  3. Part of the poorest 50% of the population
  • Skills training

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will implement a program that allows free skills training. Similar to most of the social mitigating measures, no guidelines have been released so far. Based only on the provision in the TRAIN law, the same criteria apply:

  1. A minimum wage earner
  2. Unemployed
  3. Part of the poorest 50% of the population

If you want to know more about the changes implemented under TRAIN or simply want to seek clarification about taxes in general, Ask the Tax Whiz! Like our Facebook pages: The Philippine Tax WhizAsian Consulting Group, and Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines.

For speaking engagements about the TRAIN law for your business organization, kindly email us at taxacademy@acg.ph or call (02) 622-7720. The Asian Consulting Group’s Tax Whiz Academy provides a platform for learning and sharing of expertise to the taxpaying public through its strategic tax management programs, certification courses, publications, and seminars. – Rappler.com

Mon Abrea, popularly known as the Philippine Tax Whiz, is one of the 2017 Outstanding Persons of the World, a Move Awards 2016 Digital Mover, one of the 2015 The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), an Asia CEO Young Leader of the Year, and founding president of the Asian Consulting Group (ACG) as well as the Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines (CSR Philippines). You may email him at consult@acg.ph or visit www.acg.ph for tax-related concerns.

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