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Congress still studying revenue-generating potential of luxury goods

THE House committee on ways and means intends to pass a luxury-tax bill and is evaluating which luxury goods have the greatest potential for generating revenue, its chairman said.

“The committee will definitely pass a measure expanding (the list of taxable luxuries), but we will discuss which items can generate the most revenue for the least effort,” Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said on Monday.

In a statement, Mr. Salceda said under consideration are wristwatches, bags and other leather items above P50,000, private jets, cars costing more than P5 million and residential property selling for more than P100 million. He is also looking to tax beverages selling for more than P20,000 per bottle; and paintings that change hands for P100,000 or more.

Describing such purchases as “conspicuous consumption,” Mr. Salceda said the targeted goods are out of reach of the majority of the population.

Mr. Salceda said his intention was to tax in a manner that does not spark capital flight.

“I want the rich to keep their money in the Philippines and spend it on our development.”

He said the objective is to tax the rich more fairly while “lowering tax rates for everybody else.”

The Makabayan Bloc at the House of Representatives filed House Bill 258, which seeks to impose a 1-3% tax on wealthy individuals. The bill has been with the committee on ways and means since July. — Beatriz Marie Cruz