Growing threats to Sin Tax reform

By: Rey Gamboa

Philippines Star 09 January 2014

With the higher taxes arising from the new Sin Tax Reform Law passed end-2012, two unshakeable facts have emerged. First, that the now more expensive alcohol and tobacco products are still popular consumer items, what with continued patronage by local customers in 2013.

Second, that the government is collecting much more than it originally estimated from levies on the sale of liquor and cigarettes, and that this should increase further in the next years as the industry moves forward to a unitary tax scheme.

The first is a not-so-good news for anti-smoking and drinking advocates who rightly regard these two vices as societal ills that burden the public health care system with sick people who can ill-afford to pay for their own medicines and hospitalization.

The second, of course, is a boon for the regime of Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares who, despite all the hard work and mighty guts spilled last year running after errant tax payers, will most likely still not meet her overall collection target.

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