Taxing online sellers

June 15, 2020

THE earnings of small-time online sellers, many of them young housewives and jobless men and women, may not be that much compared to the income of other Filipino traders.

For hungry people, notably those who lost their jobs and livelihood as a result of the imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), online marketing is a “good business.”

The national government, through the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), now wants these small-time online sellers to register and later pay taxes, drawing the ire of these traders.

But Sen. Win Gatchalian has asked the BIR, the country’s top revenue-generating agency, to defer its plan to impose taxes on small-time online traders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian described the proposed taxation at the height of the global health crisis as “ill-timed and insensitive.”
With the coming recession and record-high unemployment rate in the country, Senator Gatchalian said taxing the digital economy will only add burden to ordinary Filipinos.

Likewise, the country’s digital entrepreneurs will just pass on the additional expenses to their customers, many of them ordinary wage earners and members of the middle class.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, warned that taxing online sellers at the height of the economic turmoil will impede the growth of the digital economy.

Nobody will argue with Gatchalian that “karamihan sa mga online seller ay nagsisimula pa lang na makabangon muli dahil nawalan sila ng trabaho noong kasagsagan ng ECQ.”

Instead of burdening these online traders, the government would do well to develop this new industry, which is seen to meet the employment needs of the burgeoning population.