When President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law last December, it was clear that the new measure will impose a five percent excise tax on non-essential products and services, particularly medical procedures that mainly aim to enhance physical appearance.
However, apart from this, the law did not provide an extensive definition of such procedures. It only said that the tax will be levied on “invasive cosmetic procedures, surgeries and body enhancements directed solely towards improving, altering, or enhancing the patient’s appearance and do not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease.”
Of course, the law also stated that that new tax won’t cover “procedures necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital or developmental defect or abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or disfiguring disease, tumor, virus or infection.”
Last January 5, the BIR issued draft regulations that spell out more details about which medical procedures it considers surgeries, and those it considers non-invasive procedures. It is soliciting public comments on those regulations, which could be found on its website (https://www.bir.gov.ph/), suggesting it is still amenable to amending them based on the feedback it gets.
For suggestions or comments on the draft regulations, the BIR encourages the public to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to use the subject heading “COMMENTS ET-COSMETIC PROCEDURES.”
Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg