THE BILL simplifying the tax regime for financial investors made it past committee evaluation at the House of Representatives Tuesday.

The House Ways and Means committee approved House Bill No. 304, or the proposed Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Tax Act, (PIFITA) which makes up the fourth package of the government’s comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP).

The panel invoked Rule 10 Section 48 of House rules that allows priority bills that bagged third- and final-reading approval in the preceding Congress to “be disposed of” without public hearings.

“In the previous congress, we had a very long deliberation on this… and now may we now move for the approval of House Bill 304, which is the same as we approved on third and final reading in the 17th congress, subject to minimal amendments and effectivity clause,” said Nueva Ecija 1st district Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing, who is the committee’s vice-chairperson.

The bill proposes a unified 15% income tax rate on interest, dividend, and capital gains from the current range of zero to 30%.

Package 4 of the CTRP also proposes the reduction of the stock transaction tax from 0.6% to 0.1% and the removal of the initial public offering tax.

The measure also seeks to reduce the 12% value added tax to 2% premium tax on health insurance organizations, pension and pre-need insurance.

Among the key amendments in the bill is the exemption from document stamp tax (DST) of non-monetary documents like diplomas, transcripts of records, and other school certifications.

Also exempted from DST are the Oath of Office for barangays, Good Moral Standing Certificates required from the Professional Regulation Commission, affidavits, proxies, Certificates of No Marriage Record, baptismal certificates, and marriage license certificates.

Recently, two CTRP packages were fast-tracked for plenary discussion.

Package 2+ which increases excise taxes on alcohol products and e-cigarettes made it past third and final reading at the House last week.

Meanwhile, Package 2 or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act is in line for second reading. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras