Senator Bam Aquino has filed a bill seeking to exempt Marginal Income Earners (MIEs), including farmers, fishermen, tricycle drivers, small sari-sari storeowners and other micro-entrepreneurs, from payment of income tax.
In Senate Bill 2227, 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.
“Granting income tax exemption to minimum wage earners while subjecting our small businessmen to income tax is contrary to the mandate of the Constitution, there being no substantial distinction between them in terms of earning capacity,” Aquino said in his measure.
Aquino made the move after the Bureau of Internal Revenue released a memorandum circular — Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 7-2014 — compelling micro entrepreneurs to pay income tax returns.
The circular said MIEs include agricultural growers/producers such as farmers and fishermen selling directly to consumers, small sari-sari stores, small carinderias or “turo-turos,” and drivers/operators of a single unit tricycle.
“Charging taxes does not help them in any way. Rather, it becomes a burden to a sector that is situated below the poverty line,” Aquino said.
“Imposing income tax on our small businessmen is tantamount to confiscating what little income they are able to make on a daily basis,” he added.
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 allows 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.
“Such a measure provides an enabling environment for our Filipino people to thrive and be given a chance to succeed. It further continues our campaign in achieving true inclusive growth for everyone, even for the poor and marginalized,” Aquino said.
Photo source: biogprawny