DoF: More taxes kept PH’s fiscal health strong

Credit to Author: Mayvelin U. Caraballo, TMT| Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2020 16:45:04 +0000

Facade of the Department of Finance building in Manila. (DoF photo)

THE Department of Finance (DoF) maintained the country’s fiscal health last year by collecting more taxes and keeping its exposure to the debt market manageable.

In its report, the Finance department said its total revenue collection reached P3.14 trillion in 2019, up 10.1 percent from the 2018 figure.

Of the total, tax collections reached P2.83 trillion, 10.21 percent higher than the year earlier amount.

These translated to revenue and tax effort of 16.86 percent and 15.19 percent, respectively — the highest in 22 years.

Tax take by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) rose by 11.46 percent to P2.18 trillion last year from P1.95 trillion in 2018 — “the first time in history that the BIR collection reached the P2-trillion mark,” the DoF pointed out.

The Bureau of Customs’ revenue collections, meanwhile, increased by 6.27 percent to P630.31 billion from P593.11 billion year-on-year.

Government revenues from Republic Act (RA) 10963, or the “Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act,” reached P91.3 billion in the first nine months of 2019, 18.2 percent above target and 107 percent higher than those collected in the same period in 2018.

Excise tax collections from sin products now redefined to include sweetened beverages raised a total of P269.1 billion in revenues in 2019, or almost double the P143.54 billion collected from alcoholic drinks and cigarettes in 2015.

On the other hand, tax collections from rice imports covered by RA 11203, or the “Rice Tariffication Law,” reached P12.3 billion in 2019, “assuring the government of sufficient financing support for the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund,” the Finance department said.

The BIR also managed to collect P6.42 billion in taxes from Philippine offshore gaming operators — a 169-percent increase from the preceding year’s amount.

“We expect to collect a significantly higher amount this year as we properly document and audit the operations of these online gaming operators and their service providers,” the DoF said.

Dividend collections from 54 government-owned and -controlled corporations already reached P69.17 billion, the highest amount ever collected in a year.

In terms of debt management, the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio fell to 41.59 percent in 2019, better than the Bureau of Treasury’s target of 41.72 percent, “as it managed to raise around P995 billion during the year through a proactive borrowing strategy that reduced the government’s exposure to foreign exchange risks,” the Finance department said.

“The tight spreads of the Philippines’ offshore bond issuances and the country’s credit rating upgrade to its highest ever rate of ‘BBB+’ in 2019 underline the deepening investor confidence following the game-changing reforms carried out by President (Rodrigo) Duterte to further energize the economy, spread the benefits of high growth across all sectors, and improve the lives of all law-abiding Filipinos,” it added.