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#TaxTheRich: A Policy Analysis of Introducing a Wealth Tax in the Philippines Using a Social Justice Lens

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the government’s need for additional revenue sources or the imposition of new taxes. The Philippine economy shrank by 9.6 percent in 2020. About 4.5 million Filipinos lost their jobs at the end of 2020. In contrast, the ultra-rich of the Philippines increased their wealth by about PhP 4 trillion. Legislators now call for a wealth tax to address the need for additional revenue. In response, the Secretary of Finance asserts that a wealth tax will drive away investments out of the country. This paper examines the strategies proposed by House Bill No. 10253, which seeks to impose a wealth tax on the “super-rich.” It addresses the challenges associated with implementing such a wealth tax and explore possible refinements to the proposed legislation. In light of constitutional and statutory applicability to the Philippines, this paper also looks into the examples of European countries that have implemented and later repealed laws on imposing wealth taxes. This paper uses a social justice lens to assess whether a prospective wealth tax can bridge the tax burden gap between the rich and the poor in the Philippine context.


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