The House of Representatives on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve on third and final reading the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act and House Bill 5001, which mandates free college entrance examinations at private higher education institutions (HEIs) to deserving students.
There were no negative votes or abstentions when 250 lawmakers voted to approve House Bill 4125 or the tax measure that would institutionalize simplified tax returns and processes for smaller taxpayers for ease of compliance to tax rules and regulations.
It also introduces a medium taxpayer classification and a corresponding Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) special unit for better service and tax administration, according to the congressional fact sheet prepared by the House Ways and Means Committee.
As for HB 5001, it mandates all private HEIs at the undergraduate level to waive college entrance examination fees to underprivileged graduating high school students and high school graduates belonging to the top ten percent of their graduating class.
It also mandates the Commission on Higher Education to reprimand any official or employee of the private schools and other concerned individuals who violate Section 4 of the act, regarding the grant of the waiver and impose disciplinary sanctions on the private HEIs for a repetition of the same offense.
The proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act also enhances the portability of tax transactions by removing restrictions on venue in the filing of returns and payment of taxes.
It removes the distinction between sales invoices and official receipts and makes the former the document to be used by taxpayers to substantiate value-added tax (VAT) transactions, whether for sale of goods or services.
It mandates the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to ensure the creation of registration facilities for non-resident taxpayers.
It removes the required annual taxpayer registration fee payment worth P500, legislates a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and designates a Taxpayers’ Advocate Office.
When the bill was sponsored for plenary deliberations, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, House Ways and Means Committee Chair, said the tax administration efficiency resulting from the passage of the measure shall yield an estimated P73.1 billion in additional revenues over a period of five years.
“We also expect to reduce opportunities for corruption and improve taxpayer experience through the modernization of tax administration procedures. We aim to boost taxpayer morale by building trust and legitimacy between the government and taxpayers, as this will ultimately translate to more services for our people,” Salceda said.
The House will submit the bills to the Senate for action.