Sen. Bam’s Tax Bill to Unburden the Poor Gets Support

Several stakeholders are pushing for the passage of Senator Bam Aquino’s measure that exempts marginal income earners (MIE) from paying income tax.
The Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) and the Magna Carta for Workers Alliance (MAGCAISA) both expressed their support during the committee hearing on Aquino’s Senate Bill No. 2777 or the Marginal Income Earners (MIE) bill.
Representatives from both TMAP and MAGCAISA said the passage of Aquino’s measure would help unburden poor Filipinos, which is composed mainly of farmers, fishermen, tricycle drivers, small sari-sari storeowners and other micro-entrepreneurs.
Aside from throwing support behind the MIE bill, TMAP president Rina Manuel also called for the simplification of tax filings and processes for individuals and businesses.
MAGCAISA Steering Committee representative Elizabeth Angsiaco, for her part, batted for the expansion of the bill to cover all MIEs.
After the hearing, Aquino welcomed the snowball of support for his bill, saying the government should not take way the little income that poor Filipinos earn from their livelihood.
“I consider it a great disservice to our countrymen if the government will take away what was left of their meager income,” Aquino said.
Aside from hampering its growth, Aquino stressed that poor Filipinos will be discouraged to enter the formal economy if they would be subjected to tight scrutiny by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The senator noted that the number of registered MSMEs in the country – currently pegged at approximately 800,000 – has not grown in years.
“If we want to help them grow, we need to create an environment conducive for small businesses to thrive. We need to encourage those businesses in the informal economy to register and join the formal sector,” he added.
Aquino’s bill seeks to spare micro entrepreneurs, or self-employed individuals who earn not more than the minimum wage equivalent in their regions, from paying income tax, just like minimum wage earners.
The senator filed the measure after the Bureau of Internal Revenue released a memorandum circular – Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 7-2014 – compelling MIEs to pay income tax returns.
According to BIR’s circular, 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.
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