Today, May 18, the Department of Health confirmed 205 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 12,718. Are there plans for mass testing? Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says there’s none for now, but they do have other plans: putting tax on digital platforms.
According to Inquirer, House ways and means committee chair and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda is eyeing taxation on streaming apps and social media ads. He’s also pushing for making online sales platforms as withholding tax agents.
This is “to offset an estimated P120 billion in foregone revenues once the government cuts corporate income taxes to 25 percent,” a way to combat the burden brought by the pandemic to our economy. So, which sites are his specific targets? Salceda aims to call these new tax measures “Netflix tax,” “Lazada tax,” and “Facebook ads tax.”
Earlier this year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue revealed that P50 billion worth of tax was unpaid by POGOs in 2019. Research group Ibon says that their sector only contributed “a measly” 1.5 percent of the country’s taxes in the last five years. Months ago, about P50 million was spent on a gigantic cauldron for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
In a report by Inquirer, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said that more funding will be needed should a second wave of COVID-19 come. With the current outcome of our new quarantine protocols, this is likely.
Photo from Charles Deluvio / Unsplash