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Senate drops cosmetic surgery tax from tax reform bill

Senate building

The Senate building at the GSIS Complex in Pasay City (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Senate has dropped a provision in the proposed tax reform measure that would impose an additional tax on cosmetic surgery.

During Wednesday’s plenary deliberations on the tax bill, Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, moved to delete Section 3 of the measure, which he said could have introduced a “cosmetic surgery tax.”

This, he said in jest, was in recognition on the “rights of certain persons to improve their appearance.”

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“But seriously speaking, the DOF [Department of Finance] has asked for time to study this because they feel it might be difficult to implement it because of the drawing of lines as to as which are taxable or not,” Angara said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto agreed with Angara’s proposal.

“As I’ve mentioned earlier during the period of interpellations: Kung nagpaganda, huwag nating i-tax. Pag  nagpapapangit i-tax natin,” Recto also said in jest.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson stood up and questioned why cosmetic surgery should not be taxed when the people who availed of such services are assumed to have money.

“Hindi po ba yung mga nagpapaganda may mga pera? Bakit natin i-exempt or bakit hindi natin ita-tax?” Lacson asked.

But Angara explained that they were not actually exempted from tax, but the provision in the measure would just  impose additional tax like an excise tax on cigarettes and alcohol.

“The DOF is saying if they could study the matter further,” he said.

While the projected income from the additional tax on cosmetic surgery was P10 billion, Angara said there was no assurance of the amount as it would be difficult to determine if the surgery would be for medical purposes or not.

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“Because under the Committee Report [CR], it says if it’s to restore normal bodily functions, meaning it’s medically necessary – naaksidente yung  tao – that would be exempt under the CR,” he pointed out.

“Mine is not a violent objection Mr. President. It’s just a thought,” Lacson said. /atm

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