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What is TRAIN Law?

Post: February 22, 2018

On December 19, 2017, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act RA 10963 or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or the TRAIN law. The goal of the first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) or TRAIN is to create a more just, simple, and more effective system of tax collection, as per the constitution, where the rich will have a bigger contribution and the poor will benefit more from the government’s programs and services.

Here’s How the TRAIN Law Will Affect Everyone:

  1. Increased take-home money and bonuses
    Probably the only thing that delighted citizens: under the TRAIN law, workers with an annual salary of P250,000 is exempted from tax. Salaries that were once deducted 5% to 32% in tax rate now have 0% tax deduction from 2018 and beyond.
    Tax exemption includes the mandated 13th month bonus and other bonuses. This means every employee can now take home more than they did the previous years. But since everything is a give-and-take process, some goods will be priced higher from now on.
  2. Excise on sugar-sweetened beverage and cigarettes
    It might come as a shock to you the next time you buy a bottle of your favorite soft drink that it’s a bit pricey, this is one effect of TRAIN law. Sugar-sweetened beverages, once without taxes, are now P6/liter while high fructose corn syrup beverages are at P12/liter.
    Exempted from this are milk products, 100% natural fruit and vegetable juices, and ground, instant, and pre-packaged coffee products.
  3. Increase on petroleum and automobile tax
    The TRAIN law imposes an 8-peso increase in petroleum products per liter this year. For diesel and kerosene, the once non-existent excise tax will now be at P2.50-P3/liter. Household gas LPG will have an added P1/liter. Taxes in petroleum and gas will gradually increase until 2020.
  4. Estate tax, donor tax and Higher Documentary Stamp Tax
    Under the TRAIN law, a flat rate of 6% will be imposed on both estate and donor tax. In the old law, the net estate value last year went up to 20% if the estate was worth P200,000 and above. With the TRAIN law, estates worth P5 million and below will have zero tax rate, but P5 million and above will have 6% of the excess over P5 million.
    In the previous law, donor’s tax goes up to 15% if the donor and the donee are related and 30% if they’re not. The donor’s tax is now at 6% regardless of the relationship between donor and donee.
    Under the TRAIN law however, almost all Documentary Stamp Taxes have doubled.
  5. No more tax exemption in lotto winnings and some cosmetic procedures
    TRAIN law also removes the tax exemption of Lotto winnings. Beginning 2018, winnings of more than P10,000 will be subject to 20% tax.
    While the first proposal was for a 20% tax increase in some cosmetic procedures that are for aesthetic purposes only, it was finalized to 5%. Exempted from this tax are surgeries and procedures for correcting dysfunctional body areas and birth defects.
  6. The effect on Value Added Tax
    The previous threshold of P1.9 million in Value Added Tax will now be increased to P3 million. Some exemptions from VAT then would be small businesses with total annual sale of less than P3 million, senior citizens and PWDs, renewable energy, and drugs and medicines for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol (starting 2019). Monthly rentals up to P15,000 is also now exempted from VAT, a welcome addition to the previous P10,000 below exemption.
    This means more Filipinos can have a chance at being entrepreneurs which in turn, if the business thrives, makes way for more infrastructures and jobs.
  7. Government promises
    The government has promised a P200-a-month conditional cash transfer to poor families to cushion the impact of the law to the poor. For the next two years this will be increased to P300 a month.
    If you’re wondering where the revenue from the TRAIN law will go, 70% of it is going to the Build, Build, Build Program of the government that aims to spend more for infrastructures until the end of the president’s term in 2022. The other 30% will go to education, social protection, health, and housing among others.