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House bills seeking VAT suspension for utility bills refiled

LEGISLATORS have refiled House bills seeking to suspend value-added tax on utilities like power and water, citing the need to provide inflation relief to consumers.

“We refiled House Bill (HB) 5994 or the bill removing value-added tax (VAT) on systems loss (charges) in electricity, HB 5995 removing VAT on electricity bills, HB 5996 removing VAT on toll fees, and HB 5997 removing VAT on water bills,” ACT-Teachers Representative France L. Castro said in statement on Thursday.

Bayan Muna, a member of the Makabayan bloc, filed similar measures in previous sessions of Congress. 

The measures propose to effect the VAT suspension via amendments to Sections 108 and 109 of the National Revenue Code. 

“(It) is high time that the Congress devise means which would readily help in keeping the pockets of Filipinos, especially those coming from the lower income class, from completely running dry,” according to HB 5994’s explanatory note. 

HB 5996 seeks to make services rendered by tollway operators VAT-exempt. HB 5997 will also remove VAT from the sale or importation of equipment used to improve, maintain and expand distribution of potable water.

“We believe that the approval of these anti-VAT bills is more imperative now because of the hardships that Filipinos are enduring,” Ms. Castro said, adding that the Palace should classify the measures as urgent. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo

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