A 10 to 30 percent increase in the price of beauty products and services might be in the works. Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe has proposed a "vanity tax" that will impose additional taxes on cosmetic products and procedures.
If approved, it will signal ammendment of the "non-essential goods" list under Section 150 of the Tax Reform Act of 1997 that currently specificies the excise tax levied on jewelry, pearls, perfumes, and yachts. The ammendment proposal is aiming for the addition of a subsection covering beauty products and services, which reads:
"(A) Cosmetic products, or any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, with a view exclusively or mainly cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, and/or correcting body odor, and/or protecting the body or keeping them in good condition."
Based on this description, the vanity tax will not only cover makeup and cosmetic procedures. Dental procedures, toothpastes, and even shampoos fit Batocabe's description of vanity products as well.
In defense of his proposal, the congressman says that taxing higher for vanity products will be a better alternative to imposing additonal taxes on petroleum. He also claims that this price hike will only affect the rich, as compared to a price hike for petroleum that will have a stronger impact on the poor.
Fellow solons have since begun showing support for Batocabe's brainchild. Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III also backed Batocabe's claim on a vanity tax being a solid alternative to a petroleum price hike. Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo reacted positively to the proposal as well, saying that ordinary people and employees should be exempt from the burden of higher taxes.
However, there might be a couple of points that these house representatives are missing. This supposed "pro-poor" move was met with strong opposition from many Filipino netizens who disagreed with Batocabe's points. In fact, the hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty has been trending since Tuesday, with many citing the oppressive nature of the tax proposal and more.
What do you think?