Source of Tax Law in the Philippines

The Philippine Constitution establishes and limits the ability of the goverment to impose taxes.
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The basic sources of tax law in the Philippine's are the nation's constitution, the National Internal Revenue Code, administrative issuance, and local laws.


Up until the 1970s, Philippine taxes accounted for only roughly 10 percent of the nation's GNP. Capital expenditures required more tax revenue under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. However, the Philippines still lacked a comprehensive tax system and few limitations were placed on the government's power to levy taxes, which changed with the ratification of the modern Philippine Constitution in 1987 which specifically details the authority of the government to establish taxes.

Sources of Tax Law

After the constitution, the primary source of specific tax law in the Philippines is the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), the most recent version of which was enacted via the The Tax Reform Act of 1997. The NIRC establishes basic taxes the government may levy such as personal income taxes, corporate taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes and estate taxes. It also codifies the tax collection process and procedures for appeals. Additionally, Philippine tax law empowers local governments to establish and assess some types of taxes, but which may not include taxes specifically limited to the national government such as personal income taxes, estate taxes, and some sales taxes.


The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, has the authority to interpret the provisions of the Tax Code subject to review by the Secretary of Finance. Both the Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner may issue administrative orders based on these interpretations. The Bureau of Internal Revenue is responsible for collecting these taxes.

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