Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill into law on December 19, 2017, restructuring a tax system that had been in place for more than 20 years. The law essentially reduced personal income taxes, while imposing higher taxes on goods, which include sugar sweetened beverages, petroleum products and vehicles, effective January 1, 2018.
With this monumental change, the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team pioneered the first ever tax reform calculator in the country to help Filipinos compute the tax relief they will be receiving under the new system. The beauty of the application is its simplicity. Users will only have to input their monthly salary (“ano ang iyong buwanang sahod?” in Filipino) to know how much they need to pay under the new system (“buwis simula 2018” in Filipino) compared to the previous one (“buwis hanggang 2017” in Filipino), and more importantly, to know how much higher take home pay they will get (“dagdag sa take-home pay” in Filipino).
The specific details of the higher consumption taxes (“iba pang mga buwis na ipapataw” in Filipino) were also included on the right part of the webpage for Filipinos to have an idea whether their higher take home pay will offset the higher consumption taxes.
What makes this project innovative?
The “Pinoy Tax Reform Calculator” was the first of its kind in the Philippines. Given that the government stated that 99 percent of Filipino taxpayers will see an increase in their take-home pays due to lower income tax rates under this initiative, the team deemed it fit to use technology to innovate a tool that will be easy to use and access. With just the link, users will be be directed to the calculator, which affords them an effortless process of computing for the changes in their new take-home pays by simply inputting their monthly salaries.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The calculator was among the most visited in December 2017, the month before the implementation of the new tax rates. It garnered 1,049,370 unique views and 1,219,361 total visits since it was released (There were 237,504 page views on December 20, 2017 alone). It was one of the most viewed pages apart from entertainment pieces in the same period. With the old tax system in place for more than 20 years, Filipinos were understandably apprehensive of this change and wanted to see for themselves how the new tax rates affect them. The calculator was, thus, well received by Filipino taxpayers and even by the Philippine government, thanks to its timeliness and relevance. In fact, various local TV and radio programs featured and promoted the calculator in their own shows.
Source and methodology
The team behind this project worked with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the agency responsible for collecting taxes, to ensure that the calculations were accurate. The old and new tax schedules were also provided by the same agency. Given the complicated tax structure of the Philippines with different tax brackets and deductibles (“mga nakakaltas kada buwan” in Filipino), complex mathematical calculations were done by the team before translating these formulas into programming codes.
HTML5, jQuery and CSS3 were used in programming and web development. Adobe Illustrator was used to create the graphics while Adobe Photoshop was employed to design the website wireframe.
Chi Almario-Gonzalez, Gerry Lirio, Warren de Guzman, Jacque Manabat, Abe Baladad, Regie Francisco, Aldrin Mirasol, Angela Salano