Let the BIR do its mandate

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    ‘The consolation, for the information of our senators and congressman,
    is that small online traders with annual gross income of not more than P250,000 are tax exempt.’

    THE senators and the representatives are alike: they have the propensity to make laws with fantastic logistical or budget requirements without regard to where the government will get revenues to fund such service.

    This is most evident in the crafting of various stimulus legislation to pump-prime the economy as the nation prepares for its recovery. Another is the ambitious construction of at least one quarantine facility or building in every region of the country. This maybe a measure with good intentions, but the DPWH probably had no uncommitted funds for this.

    At one time, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had to remind the lawmakers that the government had no money to fund some of their amazing ideas.

    Another characteristic shared by members of both houses is their tendency to shore up their public image as pro-poor and pro-people by advocating policies that further constrict the government’s tax collection efforts.

    The latest manifestation of this tendency is a Senate resolution pushed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros seeking to extend the July 31 deadline up to the end of the year the BIR registration of online sellers to give these digital merchants more time to prepare and submit documents in view of community quarantine restrictions.

    Without intending to be rude to the senators, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has ignored a Senate resolution calling for the extension of the deadline for online sellers to register their business with the agency.

    A revenue official said since all tax laws emanate from the Congress and they just implement them, the legislature should come out with a measure specifically extending the deadline.

    We understand the purpose of the BIR in pushing for such registration, which is to collect data for future guidelines and policies on this growing innovative trade. They pointed out that “we are now more than 100 million Filipinos and we don’t have any idea how many are engaged in online distribution of goods and services.”

    The consolation, for the information of our senators and congressman, is that small online traders with annual gross income of not more than P250,000 are tax exempt. The present audit and investigation are centered on big online traders and their distributors like Lazada, Shopee, Amazon, and video streaming Netflix.

    Nobody would complain about the policy of taxing these big companies, we surmise.

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