Print media group seeks tax breaks
MANILA, Philippines — A group of publishing companies is seeking government support in the form of significant tax cuts, among others, to address the challenges the industry is facing, which are further aggravated by the adverse effects of the pandemic, according to a position paper addressed to the Congress.
“We have endured so many [challenges] and for far too long. The print media has played a significant role in shaping the country as we know it. Print media is not dead. It is alive, enduring, and ‘striving’ to become better,” said United Print Media Group (UPMG) Philippines, which has over 30 member-publications including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, and Abante.
“It is time that the government aid the industry. With proper tax assistance, and a partnership with the education sector, print media shall once again soar to great heights. We believe that the print media still has a lot to offer,” the group, which was founded in 2001, said in its position paper.
The position paper focused on three appeals: lowering of income tax; exemption of certain industry-related transactions from the value-added tax (VAT), and a government-mandated inclusion of news and current affairs as a separate subject in the academic curriculum.
These changes, the UPMG said, could be done either through inserting amendments in the pending Creative Industries Bill or by coming up with a bill specifically crafted for the print media industry.
The UPMG asked lawmakers to further lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for the print media industry to 15 percent, months after the CIT across all industries had been reduced to 25 percent under the Create law, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act passed in March 2021.
“A lower income tax would allow print media publishers to better invest not just in equipment but also in people, elevating the quality of print media and journalism in general. A lower income tax for the industry is long overdue, it is time for the government to do its part for print media,” the position paper read.
It has also asked Congress to exempt certain transactions from the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT), particularly their purchases of paper and ink, as well as the advertisements paid by companies and the government.
In doing so, the government would be able to help the print media industry lower its production costs and attract more advertisements.
“While paper and ink drive the cost of printing, advertising services are one of the main sources of income for print media publishers. We believe that being able to address both the cost aspect and revenue aspect of print media publication will allow the industry to not just survive but even thrive in today’s fast-changing world,” they said.
On top of this, the group also wants to institutionalize its partnership with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education by allotting a subject in school solely for news and current affairs. This, the group said, was different from the status quo, wherein current events were integrated with other subjects like Araling Panlipunan.
“Being informed of the latest news will allow (the students) to participate better in discussions concerning the nation while teaching them the value of reading and journalism in general. We therefore propose a separate subject for news and current affairs in the primary, secondary, and tertiary education,” it said.
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