Bam Aquino seeks to help 'business virgins'

Posted at 05/27/2014 5:43 PM | Updated as of 05/27/2014 5:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Bam Aquino has filed a bill that seeks to promote and encourage entrepreneurship by exempting start-up businesses from taxes for its first two years of operation.

Senate Bill 2217 or the Start-Up Business Bill, which Aquino filed this month, aims to give enterprises ample time to grow their businesses before being taxed.

Aquino said the exemption only applies to those who do not have affiliates, subsidiaries or franchises of any existing company and do not have any previous or other existing registered businesses.

“If you start your own business for the first time, ang tawag nga nila ay ‘business virgin,’ tax-free ka for two years,” the lawmaker told ANC’s “On The Money.”

“Palakihin niyo na muna ‘yan, kapag buhay pa din kayo at malaki na kayo at the end of two years, then you pay the right taxes and join the formal economy,” he added.

Aquino is also seeking tax exemptions for sari-sari store owners, farmers, fishermen, fishball vendors, market owners, and microentrepreneurs or marginal income earners (MIE) through Senate Bill 2227.

He said MIEs should also be given a chance to grow their business before charging them with taxes.

“The idea here is not just to exempt them but to give them space to grow,” he said.

MIEs are those who have an annual income of not more than P150,000, the same threshold for minimum wage earners, who are currently spared from payment of income taxes.

Aquino believes a “developmental approach” to adjusting the tax system that benefits the poor and middle class will lead to a more inclusive growth.

“If you tax small earners too early, you won’t see them get out of poverty or grow at a level where they can compete already. We need to guide them, tulungan natin,” he said.