By Mario Casayuran
The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) timing in imposing taxes on online sellers is not the best, given the difficulties faced by Filipinos facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara said Thursday (June 11).
‘’But these are not new taxes, but just collection of taxes due under existing laws. So if you ask a seller who has a store, he will say it’s only fair to have a level playing field since that seller pays the transaction taxes due,’’ Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said in a statement sent to Senate reporters.
‘’It should’ve been done earlier, really,’’ he added.
For opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, the government, rather than taxing online sellers, should have focused its attention more on collecting P50 billion in unpaid taxes racked up by Chinese-run Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs).
“Hindi ‘yung dagdag-perwisyo pa sa sarili nating mga kababayan na kaunti na nga lang ang kita para pandagdag-gastos sa pamilya nila (The BIR should not have added to the burden of our countrymen whose earnings are too low to meet their families’ expenses),’’ she said.
“Bakit ba ang luwag natin sa POGO pero ang lupit sa mga Pilipino? Kahit na may 50 bilyon pesos unpaid taxes sila, at kahit na di essential, pinayagan pa ring mag-operate sa ilalim ng ECQ. Mayroon din silang mass testing, at tayo wala (Why is the government so lenient on POGOs but too strict on Filipinos? Even if they have P50 billion in unpaid taxes, even if they were classified as ‘non-essential,’ why were they still allowed to operate under the enhanced community quarantine? They have their own mass testing, and we don’t),’’ Hontiveros pointed out.
‘’Pwede bang kapakanan ng mga Pinoy muna? (Can we put the welfare of Filipinos first?)”