With IRR out next week, sin tax law to take effect January

MANILA, Philippines - The sin tax law will be implemented early January, said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which is set to release the law's implementing rules and regulations (IRR) next week.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said on December 22 there is no need to conduct public hearings on the IRR of Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012 as the rules will "not deviate" from the provisions of the law.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said once the IRR is finalized, the Department of Finance will approve it.

"As soon as it is approved by the DOF—because dadaan pa po ‘yan kay Secretary of Finance for his approval—‘pag na-approve na po ‘yan, ipa-publish ‘yan and then that will take effect immediately. By this week po, ilalabas po ‘yon. (As soon as it is approved by the DOF, because it will go through the Secretary of Finance for his approval, we will publish it and it will take effect immediately. It will be released this week)," he said on Sunday, December 23. 

The sin tax reform law, passed after 15 years, will raise about P34 billion in additional revenues from tobacco and alcohol in 2013, and P184.31 billion in the next 4 years. The P34 billion projected revenues are lower than the P60-billion target set by the DOF, but Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said it can cover the universal health program of President Benigno Aquino III.

The law removes the price classification freeze that pegged tobacco products to 1996 prices, which were used to determine the tax rates imposed on them. It also mandates a shift to a unitary tax regime by 2017 for tobacco and fermented liquor. - Rappler.com