The Phillipine Insurers and Reinsurers Association on Monday said it would push for lower taxes on non-life insurance products as soon as the new government takes over.

"I mean the tax bill, it's going to be refiled. Actually the commissioner already reiterated his support for the tax bill," former Pira president Michael Rellosa said.

The government has imposed a 12-percent value added tax, 12.15-percent documentary stamp tax, 2-percent fire service tax and 0.5-percent to 0.7-percent local government taxes on non-life insurance premium.

Allied Bankers Association president and Pira trustee Rebecca Dela Cruz said the 27.2-percent tax on non-life insurance premium in the Philippines was the highest among Southeast Asian countries. Singapore imposes a tax of just 7 percent, Thailand at 11.3 percent and Vietnam at 12 percent.

The bill seeks to reduce tax level to 5.5 percent from the current 27.2 percent.

Rellosa said more people could be protected with lower taxes.

The insurance industry is pushing HB 3235, or an act rationalizing the taxes imposed on non-life insurance policies, authored by Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Alexei Norgales.

The bill aims to make non-life insurance affordable to entrepreneurs and ordinary Filipinos, relieve the government from the burden of rehabilitation, recovery, aid assistance, welfare costs whenever there are natural calamities, and make the Philippines more competitive with other Asean countries.

Rellosa confirmed the bill would be refiled despite the changes in the lower house.

"It will be refiled. We don't know what the [new] Congress looks like yet. The [new finance] secretary is in favor of bringing income taxes down, and they really have to harmonize non-life taxes because of the integration," Rellosa said.

Source: The Standard