Tax rich corporations, families instead of Axie players — labor group

Published August 24, 2021, 11:17 AM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines has slammed the government’s imposition of new tax measures on players of online play-to-earn (P2E) games such as Axie Infinity.

(Photo from Alexandria San Juan)

This, after the Department of Finance (DOF) earlier pronounced that earnings from these gaming platforms are subject to income tax.

Axie Infinity allows players to earn in-game cryptocurrencies that could be traded and exchanged to pesos. The popularity of this blockchain game rose exponentially in the country amid the pandemic,

To play the game, players need to purchase three digital pets called “Axies,” which they will breed and hatch offspring characters that will flight on the battlefield. Completing the battle has rewards in the form of cryptocurrencies.

However, DOF’s pronouncement that earnings from these online games are taxable did not sit well with the P2E community, as well as those in the labor sector, saying that this “will never be acceptable and untimely.”

“Imposing new tax measures against people on play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity as well as social media influencers in order for the government to expand taxation on digital economy will never be acceptable in time of the pandemic and as the credibility of various government agencies in handling the people’s money is being questioned after the series of flag reports of the Commission on Audit (COA),” Defend Jobs spokesperson Christian Lloyd Magsoy said in a statement.

Magsoy said additional taxes planned to be passed against Axie players were “clear display of insensitivity” as this will mean deduction to their income during the pandemic

“The government must be able to consider that Axie players that are target of the new taxation measures have mostly lost their sources of income and livelihood because of the pandemic and had just resorted to digital and online work modes,” he explained.

“While the public is in extreme doubt on how the government is handling our taxes, no amount of tax against the poor and our working population will be acceptable, especially that we are in a national public health and economic crisis,” Magsoy added.

As an alternative, the group has proposed to tax rich corporations and families instead those who are striving to survive the pandemic and crisis.

It also supports proposals in pushing for “wealth tax” on families with over P1 billion net worth to raise at least P237 billion annually and to increase personal income taxes on the richest 2.5 percent of families for the government to generate P127 billion in a year.

Meanwhile, Magsoy emphasized that the administration’s economic team must first bring back the trust and confidence of the working people to the bureaucracy before imposing new rounds of tax measures.