Solons push for VAT-free weekends on school items and apparel

Two lawmakers have proposed to make school items and school apparel
exempt from value added tax during weekends in the month of May to
give families a break on spending in preparation for the opening of
the school year.

According to Buhay Party-list Reps. Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael
Velarde, the VAT-free weekends for these school items will help
taxpayers save money and enable retailers to lure more customers.

The proposal embodied in House Bill 5611 provides that the tax holiday
shall start at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday of May and end at 11:59
p.m. on the first Sunday of May.

“To help defray the cost of purchasing these items, the proposal seeks
to create a holiday from paying the VAT to give working families a
break on spending in preparation for the start of the school year,”
said Tieng.

He said school supplies that shall be VAT-free range from binders and
crayons to instructional materials, while school apparel shall include
items primarily worn for an educational institution which include
school clothing material, ready-made uniforms and accessories, school
shoes, and school P.E. and sports kits.

Velarde said their proposal would enable the government to give back
to the people, especially those with children.

The VAT-free weekend shall only be imposed on covered items with a
purchase price of not more than P1,000 each. The maximum total amount
of purchases for each receipt shall not exceed P10,000 according to
him.

The bill provides that retailers that back-date sales occurring after
Sunday midnight or forward-date sales that occurred before Friday to
make items qualify for the VAT-free weekend shall face tax evasion
penalties in addition to paying a fine of P20,000 to P100,000 or
facing imprisonment of one month to one year, or both at the
discretion of the court.

The VAT erroneously collected by a retailer shall be remitted to the
Bureau of Internal Revenue based on the bill.

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