After warning of its potential domino effect on transport operators and commuters, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed a resolution seeking a thorough Senate review of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s plan to hike common carriers’ tax by 2,600 percent.
In Senate Resolution 58, Lacson invoked the oversight function of the Senate to review the BIR’s proposed tax hike on public utility operators, with the aim of striking a balance between the concerns of government and the transport sector.
“The one who will ultimately bear the brunt of this tax hike are the riding public as this will undoubtedly result in fare increases and consequent rise in the price of basic commodities,” Lacson noted in his resolution.
He added that while it is true the present taxes are based on prices in 1978, imposing such a big increase so suddenly will pose an “undue burden” to operators already staggering under the burden of fuel, spare parts and even extortion by unscrupulous law enforcers.
Besides, he said such a big tax hike, especially if imposed in one sitting, will hit hardest the small-time operators who drive their own jeeps, buses or taxis.
Citing figures reaching his office, Lacson said the revenue regulation effectively increases the present tax on jeeps, taxis and buses by as much as 2,600 percent. Operators of buses carrying 50 or more passengers may have to pay from the present P864 to P23,652.
What is unconscionable, Lacson said, is that the planned increase was “arrived at hastily” just to meet the deficit target by the end of the year, as well as its shortcoming in the tax collection effort.
He noted that at the end of the first half of 2007, the government’s budget deficit already reached P41 billion, making it difficult for government to maintain a target budget deficit of P63 billion by year’s end.
“The government’s non-tax revenues stood at P78.3 billion, which was P3.4 billion higher than the P74.9-billion target of the Department of Finance; while the revenue collection for the same period stood at P510.3 billion, which was P47.7 billion lower than the P558-billion target,” he said.