Get to Know the Exact Change Act

You’ve probably had to deal with the issue of paying for something with a larger bill only to be asked for a smaller one instead. In other cases, you’ve probably gotten candy as change because the store didn’t have any coins or smaller bills. To quote the campaign slogan used by President Duterte, “Change is coming.” The Exact Change Bill became an official law at the end of July after Malacañang didn’t act on it after a 30-day period. So what is the Exact Change Act? How will it affect consumers? Table of ContentsWhat is it?What happens?How does it affect you?Final thoughts What is it? Republic Act 10909, also known as the The Exact Change Act, aims to protect consumers from losing money to sellers or businesses that do not give the exact change to their customers. After the bill was ratified by the Congress in June, it was sent to Malacañang for President Aquino’s signature. The period of 30 days to sign it has lapsed, and the bill passed into law shortly after. According to the law, it now becomes unlawful for any business establishment – regardless of size – to give insufficient change or no change at all to consumers who have purchased or received products or services of any amount. It also means that businesses can no longer give out other forms of change, such as candies. It also requires signs on every counter that state “Demand your exact change.” What happens? While the bill proposes that price tags in establishments show the exact retail of any item, it also asks retailers to break down all…

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Duterte Proposal on Implementing Non-Essentials Tax

Are you willing to pay more for your new car? President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his planned policy reforms even before his proclamation on June 30, 2016 as the Philippines’ new President. A lot of people are divided over some of these policies, but one of the most divisive ones is the fact that he is willing to consider imposing higher levies on non-essential items. According to a report from the Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP), the President-elect is considering higher taxes for items that are considered non-essential, like alcohol, and luxury cars. The report also stated that Duterte has no plans to raise the VAT or taxes on cigarettes and other so-called “sin” products. What could happen if he pushes through with implementing non-essential taxes? Table of ContentsWhat is considered “non-essential”?How does it affect you?What could happen?Final Thoughts What is considered “non-essential”? All taxes levied on non-essential items are called Excise Tax. This is the tax imposed on products made and sold locally and imported products. Among these are alcohol products, tobacco products, automobiles, petroleum, and mineral products. Essentially, all of these products are levied a tax, which leads to these items gaining markup based on a standard retail price, or for imported items, due to costs of importing. These goods are considered non-essential because they aren’t part of everyday consumption and needs. How does it affect you? While the TMAP has confirmed that the President-elect is amenable to raising taxes on non-essential goods, it will affect you directly. Higher taxes on cars may make your dream car more expensive than the original price, and you will pay more for your favorite beer. Despite the definition of “non-essentials” of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Duterte doesn’t plan…

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3 Facts about the No Contact Apprehension Policy

If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’re familiar to the possibility of using technology to enforce traffic laws, or to stop crimes in progress. In 2011, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority tested out a No-Contact Apprehension policy, which aims to increase the apprehension of traffic violators that on-ground traffic personnel is unable to. If you’re curious on what the No Contact Apprehension policy means, here are some answers to your burning questions. Table of ContentsWhat is it?How it worksWhy do this?Final Thoughts What is it? The No Contact Apprehension policy – or the No Physical Contact Apprehension program – was developed by the MMDA to penalize traffic violators even if they aren’t physically caught by an enforcer. It won’t be a replacement for physical apprehension, but an additional way for violators to be caught. Under this program, “Swerving” is still not a violation, but changing lanes can still be considered the offense of reckless driving if done without proper precautions. Under the policy, violators will be detected through the use of footage culled from the agency’s network of CCTV cameras. Read more: Can a Dash Cam Reduce Car Insurance Costs in the Philippines? How it works In addition to footage from CCTV, violators may be penalized through footage from smartphones and digital cameras. The policy dictates that those caught with “moving violations” will be served notice regarding the violation. They will be given seven days from the receipt of the notice to settle the fines or contest the violation with the MMDA’s traffic adjudication division. The footage will archive violators’ license plate numbers, and those who fail to settle the violation after a final notice will have their records handed…

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What’s Being Done to Fix the Philippine Tax System

Filing taxes – it’s one of the most pressing concerns of the Filipino people come tax season. From the high tax rates to the tedious filing process, the Philippine tax system is under plenty of scrutinies. Just recently, auditing and tax advising firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) released its Paying Taxes 2015 study. The research provided tax-related information on 189 economies. Data included in the study are the total tax rate per country, the average number of hours taken to file taxes (for companies), and various case studies from different economies. The Problems The Philippines ranked 127th out of 189 economies when it comes to the ease of paying taxes. The country ranks behind even Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries plagued with war and political crises. In the Philippines, it takes 193 hours to pay 36 kinds of taxes (for companies) versus the 4 tax payments in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, both tied in 1st place. For UAE-based companies, it takes 12 hours to pay the 4 taxes while it takes 41 hours for those in Qatar. Below are difficulties Philippine taxpayers and corporations encounter during tax season: difficult tax structure inefficient filing process inaccessibility of the online platform multiple documentary requirements (for self-employed individuals) outdated tax rates With the problems above, it’s no surprise it takes almost 200 hours to file and pay taxes in the Philippines. Just last April 15, during filing season, Filipinos expressed distress over the BIR’s e-filing system. A month before the deadline for filing taxes, the BIR issued a new regulation mandating that all taxpayers…

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A Guide to Claiming PhilHealth Benefits

Hospitalization can cost upwards of PHP 25,000, and paying out of pocket is your only option if you don’t have insurance. PhilHealth, or the Phillippine Health Insurance Corporation, provides PhilHealth benefits to all employed members. Read More: Complete List of PhilHealth Benefits for Regular and Voluntary Members As a member, you’re entitled to health and hospitalization subsidies for you or any dependents you have enrolled. As of 2014, hospitalized members need not directly file their claims. Here’s how you can claim your PhilHealth benefits: Table of ContentsStep 1: Conditions and EligibilityStep 2: Required DocumentsStep 3: Claiming and Post-Claims Step 1: Conditions and Eligibility To be eligible to avail of your PhilHealth benefits when hospitalized, the following conditions must be met: Payment of at least 3 months’ worth of premiums within the immediate 6 months of confinement. For pregnancies, availment of the newborn care package, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and selected surgical procedures, 9 months’ worth of contributions in the last 12 months is needed. Confinement in an accredited hospital for 24 hours due to illness or disease requiring hospitalization. Attending physician(s) must also be PhilHealth accredited. Claim is within the 45 days allowance for room and board. Step 2: Required Documents You’ll also need to submit the following documents before being discharged from the hospital for automatic deduction: A Clear, Updated copy of your Member Data Record (MDR). If you are dependent, make sure that you are listed in the MDR. An original copy of PhilHealth Claim Form 1, which you can get at Philhealth, the hospital or your employer. Submit the…

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Here’s How You Can Claim a Confiscated Driver’s License

There are certain major violations that can result in your license being confiscated. Remember that the only people who can take your driver’s license are duly deputized by the Land Transportation Office. They should properly identify themselves and give you a ticket clearly describing your violation. Reclaiming your license and paying the fines listed for your violation should be done within five working days to avoid penalties. Here’s how to do it. Table of ContentsStep 1: Head to the enforcement officeStep 2: Pay the fineStep 3: DifferencesStep 4: Claiming Step 1: Head to the enforcement office The citation issued to you will have the location of the enforcement office where you can claim your license. In the case of your license being confiscated by local government enforcement officers, you will need to head for the office stated on the ticket. For example, violations in Manila means that you need to go to Manila City Hall to settle the penalties. If your license is confiscated by LTO deputized traffic officials, head to the district office, or in the case of violations on the major highways, to the LTO main office in East Ave., Quezon City. Step 2: Pay the fine The procedure differs depending on which enforcement agency confiscated your license. For the LTO, you will be given a resolution document that must be presented along with the citation. Present these to the cashier so you can pay the fine and other fees. For licenses confiscated by local government enforcers, present the ticket at the designated window and wait for them…

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LTO’s New “No Registration – No Travel” Policy

You’ve probably seen a lot of cars without license plates, or with boards that simply say “For Registration”. Starting April 1, the Land Transportation Office will be enforcing a “No Registration – No Travel” policy in conjunction with R.A. 4136, Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01. Starting April 1, the Land Transportation Office will be enforcing a “No Registration – No Travel” policy in conjunction with R.A. 4136, Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01. Read more: The Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act According to this, any four-wheeled vehicle without its license plates can be stopped and will be required to present the vehicle’s Certificate of Registration and Official Receipt. The same is true if special plates are ordered. Strict penalties will be imposed on anyone found driving a vehicle without plates – ranging from PHP 5,000 for those who have completed their registration but haven’t attached their plates. A penalty of PHP 10,000 will be imposed on a driver who fails to produce the CR/OR – or the following documents: • Certificate of stock reported • Sales Invoice, dated seven days prior to apprehension • Certificate of Insurance Cover, dated on or after the date of the Sales Invoice. A further PHP 1,000 fine will be imposed on the driver for reckless driving. While the original enforcement of this was meant to be in November of 2014, LTO Secretary Jun Abaya stated that the reason for the delay in the policy’s enforcement was the lack of license plates being issued to the public. The agency plans on enforcing it to the letter, and…

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Who Can Actually Confiscate Your Driver’s License?

James Deakin pointed out in his blog article[1] the issue of contradicting laws in the Philippines when it comes to the confiscation of a motorist’s driver’s license. Have you ever encountered being asked to surrender your license without violating any traffic offense? Here’s what you need to know: Your driver’s license is kind of a general gateway ID. It’s an official government ID, and the only document that allows you to drive within the state boundary. By the same token, it also means that you are considered responsible enough to drive. RA 4136 – or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code – generally states that all drivers must carry their driver’s license at all times when operating a motor vehicle. One cannot operate a motor vehicle without first acquiring a license. (See this application guide if you still do not have one.) In situations where your license may be confiscated or held, it pays to know who can and can’t take it from you. Read more: How to Get a Driver’s License Faster Without Dealing with Fixers 12 Tips for a Quick and Stress-Free Driver’s License Renewal Here’s How You Can Claim a Confiscated Driver’s License Who can and can’t take it? In general, anyone duly deputized by the Land Transportation Office may confiscate your driver’s license providing that you have actually violated any number of traffic laws – like overspeeding, or parking in a no-parking zone, for example. The definition of “duly deputized” usually refers to officers of the law and the traffic enforcers of the Metro Manila Development…

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4 Tips for OFWs About the Current Pag-IBIG Fund Law

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) sacrifice a lot in order to give the families they left behind in the Philippines a better life. Thus, it is important that their hard-earned money is put to good use. One of the ways OFWs do this is by becoming a member of Pag-IBIG, a savings program managed by the national government. Before the Pag-IBIG Fund Law of 2009 was introduced, OFWs were not required to register as a Pag-IBIG member. Those who wanted to join applied voluntarily through the Pag-IBIG Overseas Program (POP). This program was initiated to give OFWs an opportunity to save for their future as well as to provide them a chance to avail of housing loans. But with the new law requiring OFWs to become a member of the Pag-IBIG Fund, how will it affect the membership of OFWs who applied under POP or the current Pag-IBIG Fund? What will happen to the contributions under POP? Will it be combined with the OFWs current savings? Here are some of the things OFWs need to know about RA 9679: Table of Contents1. Republic Act 9679 of the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 20092. POP Membership vs. Pag-IBIG I (RA 9679)3. Applying as a Member4. Membership ContributionHow about for those who have been contributing for POP?Benefits of being a Pag-IBIG member 1. Republic Act 9679 of the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009 Known as the Pag-IBIG Fund Law of 2009, this aims to improve the Filipino quality of life by offering housing assistance for every member. Moreover, it also…

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Pag-IBIG Allots P9.5 Billion for its Calamity Loan Program for Earthquake, Yolanda Victims

After a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas region, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG) has made available close to P 10 billion for its calamity loan program for provinces in regions affected by those disasters. Pag-IBIG allotted P4.5 billion for the program after an earthquake hit Central Visayas last October 15. The agency also allotted another P5 billion for the program after Typhoon Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas last November 8. Pag-IBIG’s Calamity Loan Program for Victims of the Bohol Earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda Pag-IBIG’s calamity loan program is open to any member of the fund who has made at least 24 monthly savings contributions. They will be eligible for the loan if they live in an area declared as under a state of calamity. The eligible member can loan up to 80% of their savings in the fund. The loan has an interest rate of 5.95% per annum and is payable for over 24 months. Members need to submit a completed calamity loan application and two valid ID cards at any Pag-IBIG branch to apply for the loan. They have a window of 90 days from the disaster to apply for the loan. Pag-IBIG is giving those with loans a grace period of 3 months and the member who availed of the loan will start paying the loan on the 4th month after the check date. SunStar reported last November 28 that Pag-IBIG has already disbursed a total of P380.2 million worth of the loans to its members that were affected by the Bohol…

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