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Philippines sees big boost in tax revenue as spending supports growth

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The Philippines' main tax agency said on Tuesday it aimed to collect a record high 1.829 trillion pesos (S$52.558 billion) this year, as higher infrastructure spending was expected deliver strong economic growth.

[MANILA] The Philippines' main tax agency said on Tuesday it aimed to collect a record high 1.829 trillion pesos (S$52.558 billion) this year, as higher infrastructure spending was expected deliver strong economic growth.

The revenue target represents a big jump from last year, with collections as of November totalling 1.45 trillion pesos.

The government has a 3.35 trillion peso budget this year, 11.6 per cent higher than last year's spending plan, allowing it to spend more on roads, bridges and airports and meet a 6.5 to 7.5 per cent economic growth target. "We are quite bullish in terms of our outlook for 2017," Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner, Caesar Dulay, told a news conference.

"With that kind of spending, automatically we foresee an increase in collection for this year."

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Building infrastructure is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's priorities.

The government has proposed tax reforms to Congress that will raise as much as US$206.8 billion in additional revenue annually.

The reforms include lowering income tax rates that will be offset by other measures including an increase in automobile and fuel excise taxes that some lawmakers and advocacy groups oppose.

Administrative reforms are also being undertaken to improve tax collection, Mr Dulay said, including expanding a BIR unit that monitors tax compliance among the country's top 3,000 corporations, which account for 75 per cent of total tax revenue.

The BIR has also started simplifying forms and procedures for small taxpayers to encourage tax compliance and ease payments, he said.

REUTERS

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