House bill seeks new tax on country's wealthiest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives wants an additional tax on the country’s billionaires, with the revenues generated used to augment funds for medical services and other programs for the poor.

The group of lawmakers filed on Tuesday House Bill No. 10253, or the Super-Rich Tax Act of 2021, which seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

The bill proposes to impose a 1% tax on persons whose taxable assets exceed ₱1 billion, 2% for over ₱2 billion, and 3% for over ₱3 billion.

This will raise ₱236.7 billion annually just from the 50 richest Filipinos, the lawmakers noted.

“Philippine taxation for the longest time has been largely collected from what people pay for, what they consume, or from what they earn, and have never implemented a tax on large fortunes,” the Makabayan bloc said.

"This tax would further help shift the burden away from regressive consumption taxes towards the handful of the wealthiest who are capable of contributing more to our public coffers," it added.

Under the proposed legislation, 60% of the billions in tax revenues shall be used exclusively for medical assistance and the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, a project providing training to health professionals.

The other 40% shall be allocated for programs and investments in education, social protection, employment, and housing that “prioritize and directly benefit both the poor and near-poor households.”

Despite the pandemic triggering a global economic downturn, most Filipino billionaires still saw their net worth go up in 2021. This year, 17 Filipinos made it to the annual Forbes List of the world’s richest individuals.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has a Large Taxpayers Service which monitors the tax payments of wealthy entities identified as large taxpayers.