Plan to tax lottery winnings opposed
State-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is opposing the Department of Finance’s proposal to tax lottery winnings, saying revenues intended for health and other services will be slashed once bettors get deterred by taxed winnings.
On the sidelines of a Senate ways and means committee hearing yeserday, PCSO chair Jose Jorge E. Corpuz told reporters that sales would go down if House Bill No. 4774, which proposes to repeal the tax exemption being enjoyed by lotto, sweepstakes and horse-racing winners under Republic Act No. 1169, would be passed into law. Section 4 of RA 1169 exempts these prizes from taxes.
In the Senate, a number of pending bills wanted to slap a 20-percent tax on winnings above P1 million.
However, Corpuz noted that lotto jackpot prizes were already automatically levied a 5-percent deduction.
“If you’re looking to win, for example, P132 million and then you’ll just get P108 million, will you be happy? Will you still bet? The attitude of Filipinos is, ‘what you see is what you get.’ How can you sell the lotto when it’s taxed?” Corpuz said.
“Even if we announce it [and inform the public beforehand] that there is a 20-percent tax on winnings, will you still buy lotto? You’ll be discouraged to buy. Ordinary Filipinos would think ‘isn’t it the government that should help me instead of me helping the government [by paying lottery tax]?’” he added.
Corpuz said the PCSO’s revenues last year rose to P39.7 billion from P37.4 billion in 2015, which he attributed to increased appetite among bettors given the huge jackpot prizes. —BEN O. DE VERA
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