Palace backs BIR order to tax online sellers

Published June 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang backed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in its move to tax online sellers, saying the government needs to tap all possible sources of additional revenues in order to provide assistance to the public while facing the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the BIR ordered online sellers and other digital-based businesses to register their activities, declare previous transactions, and settle their corresponding taxes by July 31.

In his Thursday press briefing, Roque said that the government has to tap all available resources in order to fund its programs to help the public amid the global health crisis.

“Habang tumataas po yung pangangailangan po natin sa COVID-19, siyempre po hahanap at hahanap tayo ng pamamaraan para ma-increase yung ating intake ng taxes. Isa po ito sa mga pamamaraan (While our need during the pandemic increases, we have to find ways to increase our tax intakes. This is one of those ways),” he said.

“Humihingi lang po ako ng pag-unawa sa ating publiko dahil kung wala naman tayong kaban sa ating bayan, wala tayong mga ayuda, wala tayong tulong na maibibigay habang nandito ang banta ng COVID-19 (I ask for the public’s understanding because if our treasure is empty, we won’t be able to give any form of health while COVID-19 is still here),” he added.

Read more: BIR directs online sellers to register before July 31

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua, meanwhile, clarified that those earning P250,000 and below annually do not have to pay taxes based on the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“‘Pag P250,000 po and above po na taxable income ay subject to tax. Pero ‘pag below P250,000 po exempted po ‘yan (If you’re earning P250,000 and above annually, your income will be subjected to tax. If not, then you are exempted),” he said.

What about POGOs?

Meanwhile, Roque said the government was not letting Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) slide and that they are still being required to pay their taxes.

Roque made the statement after Senator Risa Hontiveros said the BIR should first go after POGOs and collect unpaid taxes amounting already to P50 billion.

“Sinisingil po natin. Hindi po natin sila pinalulusot (We are going after them. We are not letting it slide),” he assured the lady senator.

“Trust me po, lahat po pinagkukunan natin para mabigay natin ang pangangailangan ng mga biktima ng COVID-19 (Trust me, we are exhausting all options so we can provide for the needs of the victims of COVID-19),” he added.

The Philippine government has allowed POGOs to operate despite it being a non-essential industry while during the pandemic. However, one of the conditions was a POGO must first settle its taxes with the BIR.