Coronavirus vaccines will be VAT-free under new tax law seen to hurdle Congress by Tuesday

VACCINES and medicines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will be exempted from value-added tax (VAT) under the second package of the government’s proposed tax reform program, which is expected to be ratified by Congress on Tuesday. “Tuesday is okay. On Monday, we need the signatures (of both chambers of Congress),” Albay 2nd District Rep. Rep. José María Clemente S. Salceda told BusinessWorld Sunday when asked about the timeline of the bill’s ratification. Mr. Salceda released the draft Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act to reporters Saturday, which indicates that COVID vaccines will be allowed duty-free importation along with medicines for treatment of the disease, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The CREATE Bill seeks to lower corporate income tax from 30% to 25% for large corporations and 20% for small and medium establishments (SMEs). Mr. Salceda said the House of Representatives and the Senate settled contested provisions of the measure last Saturday and the draft is ready for final reading. — Gillian M. Cortez

Gov’t to provide free occupational safety training to MSMEs

OCCUPATIONAL safety training for establishments will now be provided for free based on a new policy issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE). In a statement on Sunday, DoLE said Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued the directive to help establishments comply with safety requirements, especially with the coronavirus pandemic. “We are waiving the training fees being charged to micro and small businesses, and those companies in distress,” Mr. Bello said. The Occupational Safety and Health Center under DoLE used to charge a fixed fee of P5,500 per trainee. Employers are mandated to provide occupational safety seminars and training to workers under Republic Act 11058 or the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act. — Gillian M. Cortez