Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Needless Taxes

So it has been reported in the news lately that the Bureau of Internal Revenue is looking to impose taxes on online businesses, such as those conducting transactions via eBay, Multiply and AyosDito.

I believe that the Internet is one of the last bastions of freedom, and in extension free trade, and the government has no right to meddle with people's affairs online.

This news is troubling for several reasons. Despite recently boasting achievements such as improved infrastructure without raising taxes, how would the government keep its trustworthiness when they are pushing for this as well as the implementation of Sin Tax? Besides, doesn't the Bureau of Customs already take a cut of profits from online sellers?

It's ridiculous that the government is lobbying for taxing small businesses instead of encouraging Filipinos to become entrepreneurs. It's dumb that online businesses have to make the effort to register themselves to the BIR, instead of the other way around. Are they not aware that these taxes would inevitably be passed on to the consumers themselves, who already have enough taxes to worry about?

It's pathetic that these new laws seem to favor the rich. Instead of promoting self-reliance and creativity among the Filipino people, these laws would further limit consumer options and would help already established businesses eliminate a small emerging market.

Furthermore, I don't really see any practical way of monitoring this without the government violating the sellers' and consumers' privacy. By its very nature, the online marketplace is mostly informal and operates on some degree of trust between buyers and sellers. It doesn't take a genius to deduce that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to actively track down every transaction that takes place over the Internet without needlessly spending taxpayer money.

By imposing these taxes, they would also take away a lot of what makes online shopping appealing, such as the competitive costs, relative anonymity and the element of extra service. Discouraging local businesses to look into online retail would also lead to consumer's money being spent on international purchases.

I sincerely hope the people in charge spend more time thinking this through. It is not only retarded, but is also an example of backwards thinking caused by the crab mentality that already seems to be inherent in our culture.

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