Angara seeks to impose tax on sweepstakes, lotto winnings
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara now wants to impose tax on sweepstakes and lotto winnings amounting to P1 million and above to minimize the possible loss in government coffers if the proposed lowering of personal and corporate income tax rates is passed into law.
Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, filed Senate Bill 1009 that seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 by removing the tax exemption on sweepstakes and lotto winnings in the country.
“The 20-percent final tax shall now be imposed only to PCSO (Philippine Charity and Sweepstake Office) winnings amounting to P1 million and above,” he said in the explanatory note of the bill.
Angara noted that in 2014, the PCSO jackpot prizes reached P2.9 billion while low-tier prizes reached P8.2 billion.
“Without the tax exemption, the winnings could have translated to more than P2.2 billion in government revenues,” said the senator.
The bill, he said, would also ensure that any tax on PCSO winnings would accrue only to the Philippine government.
“It should be recalled that in November of 2010, a balikbayan, who is already a US citizen, paid almost P200 million in taxes to the United States Internal Revenue Services after winning the P741-million jackpot prize in the grand lotto draw,” said the senator.
“With jackpot prizes reaching hundreds of millions of pesos, we must ensure that the benefits from PCSO sweepstakes and lotto would go to the Philippine government, bearing in mind that any amount of taxes paid eventually translates to better social programs and public services for the Filipino people,” he further explained.
Angara said the government should find ways to generate additional income amid the public clamor to reduce the income tax rates.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself is pushing for the passage of a measure that would reduce income tax rates.
“While the clamor for the indexation and lowering of personal and corporate income tax rates has already gained ground, it is prudent to find ways of generating additional sources of income to minimize the possible loss in the government coffers,” he said.
“We must uphold fiscal responsibility to ensure that the economic gains and the sound fiscal environment we have achieved during the previous administration will not be put to naught and instead be sustained and improved,” said the senator. RAM
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