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Labor group hits Philippine plan to tax online sellers

LABOR group Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed opposition to the government’s plan to tax small online sellers as the country struggles to reopen its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Elmer Labog, chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, said the plan “shows how heartless this government is.”

On June 10, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued a memorandum requiring those into online selling to register and declare their past transactions that are subject to taxes.

The order covers not only sellers or merchants but also other stakeholders involved such as payment gateways, delivery channels, internet service providers and other facilitators.

The agency warned that it will penalize those who will be found doing online business transactions without complying with the regulations and those who fail to pay taxes.

Labog said online selling is “one of the recourses to make both ends meet” of some of the more than seven million Filipinos who lost their jobs because of the health crisis.

“This government has the nerve to collect taxes from Filipinos who already felt abandoned,” said Labog.

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He said enterprising Filipinos “are just trying to make it through the crisis” and “this government would like a cut from their hard-earned money.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority announced on June 5 that unemployment soared to 17.7 percent in April this year, equivalent to about 7.3 million jobless Filipinos.

Labog said online sellers “just want to honestly earn a living despite the failure of the government to ensure decent jobs and livelihood.”

“And yet this government is the one who is making it difficult for Filipinos to decently earn a living,” he added.

The labor leader urged the government to go after “big-time tax evaders, who are also top labor violators.”

“This government has a strong record of coming after small people who they can corner and push against the wall while keeping a blind eye to bigger violators,” said Labog.

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