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House panel approves bills simplifying tax filing process

THE House Committee on Ways and Means approved measures that will make tax filing easier, to encourage taxpayers to pay their dues.

In a virtual committee hearing Monday, the panel approved House Bill (HB) 7881 and House Bill 7415. HB 7881, or the proposed “Ease of Paying Taxes Act” seeks to relax the rules on filing returns and paying taxes. It will also ease compliance requirements and penalties for violators. The bill proposes to amend sections of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

HB 7415, also a proposed tax code amendment, seeks to simplify registration for taxes and the filing of returns and payment of income and percentage taxes. It will also provide tax relief for micro enterprises.

“After a lengthy discussion… may I now make a motion since this is…very commendable. I move for the approval of House Bills 7881 and 7415 subject to style and amendments,” Nueva Ecija 2nd District Representative Estrelita B. Suansing proposed before the measures were approved.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Jose María Clemente S. Salceda said at the hearing that the National Internal Revenue Code does not contain provisions that “empower” taxpayers and underline their rights. The law takes a “one size fits all” approach even if each tax paid has a different compliance requirement.

He cited the need to boost “tax morale,” as a means of driving growth. He estimated that low enthusiasm for paying taxes shaves off between 0.68 and 1.02 percentage points from gross domestic product each year.

“When citizens perform their patriotic duty to pay correct taxes and ensure the flow of the lifeblood of the government, the least the state can do is ease the process of doing so,” he said at the hearing.

Aside from reduced requirements and removal of tax registration fees, the proposed law also creates a “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” and establishes a Taxpayer’s Advocate Office.

The proposed measures also intend to cut red tape further and minimize occasions for corruption in the tax collection effort. — Gillian M. Cortez

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