MANILA — The Philippines’ universal healthcare program will get additional boost as sin tax collections continue to post large increases.
Data released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Tuesday showed that the government once again surpassed its target in 2015 after collecting PhP141.84 billion, or 19.11 percent higher than the PhP119.08 billion target for the year.
Of the total, tobacco products posted the highest contribution amounting to PhP100.02 billion, or 29.09 percent higher than the PhP77.48 billion target for last year.
Fermented liquors followed at PhP28.26 billion. This is, however, 1.01 percent lower than the PhP28.55 billion target.
Taxes from distilled spirits and compounded liquors came in third at PhP13.51 billion, 3.59 percent higher than the PhP13.04 billion target.
Wines contributed the least taxes at PhP0.05 billion but it posted the largest excess vis-a-vis the target after it jumped 426.4 percent against the PhP0.01 billion goal.
Compared to the 2014 sin tax collections, last year’s total collections rose 25 percent from PhP112.8 billion.
In 2014, excise tax from tobacco products amounted to PhP75.51 billion, fermented liquors – PhP24.74 billion; distilled spirits/compounded liquors – PhP12.52 billion; and wines – PhP0.04 billion.
The country’s Sin Tax Law was amended in December 2012 in a bid to align the taxes to current prices instead of the 1996 prices. The Reformed Sin Tax Law took effect in January 1, 2013.
Aside from aligning taxes to current prices, it also targets to curb cigarette use among the young and the poor as these are the vulnerable group in terms of tobacco-related diseases.
Proceeds of the Reformed Sin Tax Law was mandated to be used for the government’s universal healthcare program and livelihood programs for tobacco farmers.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the rise in sin tax collections “is not small feat.”
“I expect (BIR) Commissioner (Kim) Henares and the BIR to continue to expand the fiscal space we need to invest more heavily in universal healthcare,” he said.
“With the figures in for its third year of implementation, Sin Tax Reform is a lesson in good governance: sound policy and tough enforcement going hand in hand to deliver results for the uncovered and most vulnerable,” he added. PNA/northboundasia.com