Emerging proposals to adjust excise tax on petroleum products are premised on the fact that most of the tax rates were set as early as 1996. Several considerations must be taken into account in the process of reforming the tax system. One, the country’s excise tax must be comparable with those of ASEAN member-states. Two, increase in the price of basic commodities as a result of higher taxes could diminish the purchasing power of consumers. Three, petroleum products are essential inputs to the production, processing and movement of goods. The transport sector uses up more than two-thirds of total petroleum products followed by commercial and industry sectors. Four, importers and refiners of oil products are subject to value added tax or VAT, in addition to excise tax. Being a price-based tax, the VAT automatically responds to inflationary changes which the specific excise tax is not able to capture.
On the positive side, incremental revenues from higher tax rates will help the government to address the unmet needs of the Filipino people. Additional tax collections may be used to beef up infrastructure spending, upgrade mass transport system, and improve traffic management, among others. Also, higher fuel price could result in more prudent use of petroleum products, longer service life for roads and bridges, traffic decongestion, and lower carbon emission. >>read complete document