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Presidential cousin: Henares ‘anti-poor’

PRESIDENTIAL cousin and Senator Bam Aquino on Friday denounced what he tagged as an “anti-poor” circular of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, saying that it was tantamount to confiscating the daily income of marginal income earners (MIE).

The BIR memorandum circular—Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 7-2014—compels micro entrepreneurs to pay income tax returns.

The BIR circular would cover agricultural growers/producers such as farmers and fishermen selling directly to consumers, small sari-sari stores, small carinderias or turo-turo, and drivers/operators of single unit tricycles.

Aquino said charging taxes does not help these people in any way as it ‘becomes a burden to a sector that is situated below the poverty line.”

To counter the circular, the neophyte senator has filed Senate Bill 2227, which seeks to exempt Marginal Income Earners (MIEs), including farmers, fishermen, tricycle drivers, small sari-sari storeowners and other micro-entrepreneurs, from payment of income tax.

Under his proposed measure, Aquino said MIEs, or self-employed individuals who earn not more than P150,000 annually, should be spared from paying income tax, just like minimum wage earners.

He noted that granting income tax exemption to minimum wage earners while subjecting our small businessmen to income tax was contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, there being no substantial distinction between them in terms of earning capacity.

The bill classifies MIEs as self-employed individuals—working neither for the private sector nor the government—deriving gross sales/receipts not exceeding P150,000 during any 12-month period, which will be used principally for subsistence or livelihood.

If enacted into law, the bill would instruct the BIR to adjust the income cap on the gross sales of the small businessmen to match any increase that minimum wage income earners may receive.

Aside from income tax, MIEs shall be exempt from 12 percent value-added tax and any percentage tax imposed under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 because they are not engaged in trade for which these taxes are imposed.

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