The Department of Finance on Friday said it will speed up the formulation of a tax reform program within three to six months.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on his first full day of work in the government the Duterte administration would draw up a tax package that included the lowering of corporate and personal income taxes for submission to the House of Representatives on September.
“We need to quickly adjust our tax rates to bring them closer to reality. Our people expect that. It will also be good for business,” Dominguez said in a speech after the official turnover of the department’s leadership from predecessor Cesar Purisma.
Dominguez did not give out the revenue implocations of the proposal.
“No, I don’t have specific numbers at this time. Besides, it wouldn’t be good to reveal it at this point,” he said.
Dominguez confirmed the government planned to reduce the corporate and personal income tax rates below the current 32 percent.
Dominguez also directed two of the country’s largest revenue-generating agencies—the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs—to speed up the paper processing.
President Rodrigo Duterte in his inaugural speech on June 30 ordered the simplification of processes in all government agencies. Dominguez said the BIR and BoC should simplify procedures, improve automation and facilitate trade.
“Doing these things will reduce corruption and enable us to serve our clients better. More important, by improving efficiency in these revenue agencies, we will enhance the growth prospects of our economy,” Dominguez said.
He called on Finance employees to buckle down to work and do things “a little differently, a little more creatively” to help government reconnect with the people.
Dominguez said aside from striving for a stable financial management and helping develop domestic capital markets, Finance must ensure a “sufficient revenue flow” to allow the Duterte administration to fund all socio-economic programs.
He said bold and creative measures, including reforming tax and customs management, must be carried out by the department and its attached agencies in keeping with President Duterte’s promise to expand “an economy that works for our people’s betterment.”
“The Department of Finance can no longer use its fancy calculations to continue its detachment from the everyday lives and everyday Filipinos. We need to do our job a little differently, a little more creatively,” he said.
“Our first responsibility [at the DoF] is to help deliver an economy that works for our people’s betterment. If we can raise taxes and feed all our people at the same instant, that will be the best of all worlds. If we cannot, then let us feed our people first,” he said.