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Lawmaker bats for tax credits for retailers

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THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) should provide tax credits or deductions to retailers to ensure their establishments’ compliance to a new policy providing increased discounts to senior citizens and persons with disabilities, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

“Making price-discounted groceries bought by our seniors and PWDs available for tax breaks or deductions by the supermarkets and other establishments where these were procured will somehow ensure greater compliance by retail outlets,” Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr. said in a statement.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Agriculture (DA), and Energy (DoE) issued a joint administrative order last week, issuing an increase in discounts for the elderly and PWDs to P125 per week from P65.

The discounts cover their purchases of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs).

“If the BIR does not consider granting tax credits to retail outlets, there is a greater possibility for supermarkets or grocery stores to ignore this would-be policy or jack up the prices of their BNPC items to cancel out the discounts of seniors and PWDs,” said Mr. Villafuerte, referring to the potential recourse of struggling retailers to offset the burden of the increased discount cap.

Earlier this month, the Philippine Retailers Association issued a position paper for the government to consider providing direct subsidies or tax incentives “to alleviate the financial burden” faced by retailers granting the joint order.

Basic necessities covered under the joint administrative order include rice, bread, dried and canned fish, beef and poultry meat, and vegetables, among others.

Flour, processed and canned pork, dairy products, toiletries and bath soap, and select construction materials are prime commodities included under the discount cap increase order. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

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