ASPAP: Time to work together instead of making unfair remarks

June 16, 2020

“I JUST wish people will use this time to unite and help one another.”

Atty. Margarita Gutierrez expressed this disappointment over comments circulating about Pogo Service Providers’ (PSP) tax payments.

This comes after certain personalities called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to go after PSPs for additional taxes and focus on tracking down illegal offshore gaming operators instead of placing the burden on online sellers and retailers.

The ASPAP spokesperson appealed to the public to get the correct facts first on how PSPs go about settling its tax payments before saying anything, adding that the group dutifully pay regulatory fees as well as the corporate and withholding tax of their workers.

“People should get their facts straight and study the laws involved before making comments as our industry is as essential as the others in terms of revenue generation,” said Gutierrez. “Members of our organization are paying the correct taxes to government as pre-requisite to resuming operations. It is unfair to put us down without knowing the real story. Instead, we should try to contribute what we can in big or small ways to bring our economy back on track,” she indicated.

In addition, taxing the online sellers and retailers is nothing new. It is within the existing tax laws which will only impose Income Taxes for those earning more than Php250,000.00 per annum and Value-Added Tax to those earning more than Php3,000,000.00 per annum. The BIR Memorandum only required these online sellers and retailers to register their businesses and does not automatically subject them to taxes.

“ASPAP members reiterate our unequivocal commitment to pay the appropriate taxes imposed by the government prior to the limited reopening of online gaming operations,” she added.

“This is consistent with our assurances to fully support the country’s recovery from the  crushing pandemic.”

To recall, the government has greenlighted the limited operations of PSPs as part of its measures to raise funds to address the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gutierrez also underscored that the government collected P6.42 billion in additional personal and corporate income tax from the PSPs and stressed that it is complying with tax laws even before the outbreak of the pandemic.

“ASPAP members opted not to seek incentives or any tax breaks from government from the start,” said Gutierrez, adding that the PSPs are contributing around P94.7 billion to the local economy that could reach as high as P104 billion this year.

Last week, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque clarified that the government is collecting the unpaid taxes of PSPs contrary to Hontiveros’ claims.

“We collect their taxes, Senator Risa Hontiveros. They will not be allowed to open unless they pay their taxes,” said Roque in one of his briefings.

“We are getting our funding for the COVID-19 response from the BIR and the Bureau of Customs. So while our funding requirements go up, we will continue to look for ways to increase our intake of taxes,” he added.

The Palace official stressed that “if our country’s coffers are empty, we have no way of distributing aid while COVID-19 remains a threat.”

Malacanang also clarified that sellers earning P250,000 below annually are exempted from paying taxes under the tax reform law.