Philippines passes major tax reform law

President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to launch a “golden age of infrastructure,” with spending of about $170 billion for roads, railways and airports during his six-year term. (AFP)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Philippines passes major tax reform law

MANILA: The Philippines has passed a tax reform bill at the heart of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic agenda, officials said Thursday, raising levies on coal, cars, soft drinks and cosmetic surgeries to finance the country’s crumbling infrastructure.
Economists and environmentalists have praised the package, with the Philippines winning a credit rating upgrade this week from Fitch Ratings and green campaigners hailing the higher tax on coal.
Officials said the tax reforms, the most significant revenue-boosting measure introduced since Duterte took office last year, would finance increased spending on infrastructure to ease the cost of doing business.
“The tax reform (act) seeks to achieve a simpler, fairer, and more efficient tax system characterized by lower rates and a broader base, to encourage investment, job creation, and poverty reduction,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.
The government has warned that bad roads, crowded trains and poor Internet speed have hindered the country’s competitiveness and threaten to derail efforts to lift millions out of poverty.
The key provisions of the bill, which Duterte is expected to sign later this month, includes a rise in the excise tax on coal, the fuel that runs almost half the country’s power plants.
The coal tax will increase incrementally to ten-fold or 100 pesos (SR7.44) a ton by 2020 according to the version passed in Congress late Wednesday.
The act also significantly raised excise taxes on automobiles, petroleum products including diesel, gasoline and cooking gas, and jacked up mining levies.
The effort to raise revenues also led to a “sweetened beverage tax,” an excise tax on “cosmetic procedures, surgeries and body enhancements,” and the doubling of tax rates on dollar deposits, capital gains tax and stock transactions.
The affected sectors have warned of an inflation spike but Congress has described the legislation as pro-poor for lowering income tax rates and exempting some small businesses from paying a sales levy.
Duterte has vowed to launch a “golden age of infrastructure,” with spending of about $170 billion for roads, railways and airports during his six-year term.
International credit rating agency Fitch had earlier cited the impending passage of the tax reforms as one of the reasons behind its decision to upgrade the Philippines’ credit rating on Monday.
“We estimate the bill to be net revenue positive, reflecting an expansion of the VAT (value-added tax) base and higher taxes on petroleum products, automobiles and on sugar sweetened beverages, which would more than offset a lowering of personal income taxes,” Fitch said in a statement.
Congress this week also passed a 3.767-trillion-peso national budget for 2018, a 12.4-percent increase from last year.


CrowdStrike said to hire Goldman Sachs to lead IPO

Updated 20 October 2018
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CrowdStrike said to hire Goldman Sachs to lead IPO

  • IPO could come in first half of next year
  • CrowdStrike raised $200 million in June

NEW YORK: Cybersecurity software maker CrowdStrike Inc. has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group to prepare for an initial public offering that could come in the first half of next year, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
CrowdStrike is aiming to be valued more than the $3 billion funding round assigned to it earlier this year, the sources added.
CrowdStrike’s IPO plans could still change, the sources cautioned, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
CrowdStrike and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
Sunnyvale, California-based CrowdStrike raised $200 million in June led by investors General Atlantic, Accel and IVP. Other major backers include CapitalG, an investment arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. and Warburg Pincus.
CrowdStrike uses artificial intelligence for its Falcon platform to prevent attacks on computers on or off the network.
CrowdStrike is trying to stand out from the hundreds of security startups that have sprouted in recent years, promising next-generation technologies to fight cyber criminals, government spies and hacker activists, who have plagued some of the world’s biggest corporations.
The recent crop of publicly listed cybersecurity companies have had a mixed stock performance. Zscaler Inc. went public in the spring and is trading 125 percent above its IPO price. Tenable Holdings Inc. is worth about 25 percent more than its IPO price. Carbon Black shares have been trading below their IPO price.
CrowdStrike was founded in 2012 by two executives who left security software maker McAfee, including George Kurtz, the startup’s chief executive.