Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2019

VAT exemptions, discounts for PWDs

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As a person with disability (PWD), is it true that I am exempt from value-added tax (VAT)? Is this the same as the PWD discount?

The VAT exemption of PWDs depends on the nature of the product. As reiterated by Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 9-2019, only the following goods or services are exempt from VAT:

Any item not listed above is still subject to VAT. Note, however, that the VAT exemption is not the same as the PWD discount.

Under RR No. 5-2017, PWDs can claim at least a 20% discount on the items above.

In addition, RR No. 9-2019 also sets a special 5% discount on basic necessities and prime commodities (but those items will not be exempt from VAT), provided that the total amount of the purchase will not exceed P1,300 per calendar week and that it’s spent on at least 4 kinds of the qualified items.

For the purpose of the new 5% discount, what kinds of products are considered basic necessities or prime commodities?

According to RR No. 9-2019, the following are considered basic necessities:

  • All kinds and variants of rice
  • Corn
  • All kinds of bread (except pastries and cakes)
  • Fresh, dried, and canned fish
  • Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
  • All kinds of fresh eggs (except quail eggs)
  • Potable water
  • Fresh and processed milk (except milk labeled as food supplement)
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Locally-manufactured instant noodles
  • Coffee and coffee creamer
  • All kinds of sugar (except sweetener)
  • All kinds of cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap
  • Firewood
  • Charcoal
  • All kinds of candles
  • Household LPG
  • Kerosene

Under the same regulations, the prime commodities are:

  • Flour
  • Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef, and poultry meat
  • Dairy products
  • Onions and garlic
  • Vinegar, fish sauce, and soy sauce
  • Toilet bath soap
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Poultry feeds, livestock feeds, and fishery feeds
  • Veterinary products
  • Paper, school supplies
  • Nipa shingle
  • Sawali
  • Cement, clinker, GI sheets
  • Hollow blocks
  • Plywood
  • Plyboard
  • Construction nails
  • Batteries (except cellphone and automotive batteries)
  • Steel wires

The list above also refers to the items that are not covered by the VAT exemption for PWDs.

For VAT-registered businesses, it is important to take note of their sales to VAT-exempt customers as they will have to report these to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Got more questions? Contact us at or (02) 622-7720. –

Mon Abrea, popularly known as the Philippine Tax Whiz, is one of the 2017 Outstanding Persons of the World, a Move Awards 2016 Digital Mover, one of the 2015 The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), an Asia CEO Young Leader of the Year, and founding president of the Asian Consulting Group (ACG) as well as the Center for Strategic Reforms of the Philippines (CSR Philippines). Assisting him in his column is JM Miñano, communications associate of ACG. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

For inquiries, you may email or visit for tax-related concerns.

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