TAX credits should be provided to supermarkets and retail stores that will soon be required to grant a discount hike to senior citizens and persons with disabilities buying basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs), a lawmaker said on Monday.

Retailers earlier said that increasing the monthly discount cap to P500 could make things difficult for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Making price-discounted groceries… available for tax breaks or deductions… will somehow ensure greater compliance by retail outlets once this new policy of a higher 5% discount on such BNPC purchases is implemented,” Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr. said in a press statement.

Last week, the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) released a position paper for government to consider direct subsidies or tax incentives for retailers to “alleviate the financial burden” of granting the bigger discounts.

However, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shot down the idea, saying it “cannot give additional [tax deductions] without basis in the law.”

“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 who would buy from them,” Mr. Villafuerte warned.

Last month, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez announced plans to make seniors and PWDs eligible to a P500 total discount each month on BNPCs, starting in March. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio