THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will ask the help of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in justifying the imposition of 20 percent tax on all sweepstakes prizes.
PCSO General Manager Alex
ander Balutan said the agency will invite tax experts from the BIR to defend the newly imposed tax on the prizes brought by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (Train) in January.
The Train law or Republic Act 10963 imposed higher excise tax on fuel, sugar sweetened beverage and tobacco.
The tax reform law on the other hand exempts individual taxpayers with an annual income of P250,000 from paying income taxes.
But under the TRAIN law, PCSO and lotto winnings exceeding P10,000 will also be subject to 20 percent tax.
“Nung una nga 10 percent. Hindi pa namin napag-uusapan ng husto ‘yung tax nito. (Originally, it was 10 percent and we have not discussed this new tax rate.) We are inviting experts from the BIR on how we will justify the taxes,” Balutan said.
The 20 percent tax is now imposed on all sweepstakes prizes including the P331.9 million Ultra lotto 5/58 jackpot that was won by two bettors during the February 16 draw.
With the new taxes instead of getting at least P165 million each, the two lucky winners would be splitting P265 million instead of P331 million, if the 20 percent tax will be imposed.
“Wala na tayong magawa, batas na ‘yan. Ang problema lang ma-dissuade ang betting public na hindi na tumaya. (We cannot do anything about it anymore because that is the law. The problem now is how we can dissuade the betting public from not betting,” Balutan added.
The PCSO chief expressed optimism that the new law would not affect the interest of the public since they could still win huge prizes even with the tax imposition.
Balutan noted that the taxes would automatically go to the charity fund and that can be used to help the poor. He said with the renewed confidence of the betting public on the leadership of the PCSO, revenues of the charity institution would continue to increase.
Balutan cited the January sales of the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL) that reached P1.87 billion, which is higher than the P1.7 billion earning in December 2017.
The January 2018 revenue, Balutan said, was 103 percent higher compared to the sales from the same period in 2017.
“The people are continuously patronizing PCSO games such as Lotto, Keno, Suertes, and STL. Of course we are happy because it would mean that the PCSO could provide medical assistance to more Filipinos,” he said.
Balutan on Monday received recognition from the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) for the agency’s contributions during the Marawi siege.
“The recognition given is not just necessarily to me, but the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office by the Philippine Marine Corps. This is very timely considering PCSO is in a controversial period,” he said.
The charity agency has provided assistance to victims disasters from its annual calamity fund amounting to P100 million.
The PCOS recently released P5 million to Palawan for the victims of typhoon “Vinta” and P35 million for thousands of Mayon evacuees.
Last year, the agency donated P6 million to Biliran Province for the victims of typhoon Urduja; P2.5 million to Davao City; P1 million to Davao del Norte; P500,000 to Tagum City; P200,000 to Davao Occidental; P600,000 to Davao Oriental; and P600,000 to Compostela Valley for typhoon Vinta victims, and P5 million for the victims of the sige in Marawi City.