The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is asking the Bureau of Internal Revenue to help them justify to the public the 20 percent in taxes imposed on lottery winnings worth P10,000 or more starting this year, as stipulated under the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.
PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan on Monday said the agency will invite BIR experts to explain the law for the benefit of the gaming public, as taxes on lottery winnings began last month.
“At first, [the tax] was just 10 percent. We haven’t really explained the tax here. We are inviting experts from the BIR on how we will justify the taxes,” Balutan said.
On Friday, two lucky bettors won and shared the whopping P332-million jackpot in the PCSO’s Ultra Lotto 6/58 draw. The winnings are now subject to the new tax law.
“We cannot do anything, that is now the law. The problem is, the betting public might be dissuaded from playing. But according to our lawmakers, that’s still a windfall. If you win P100 million and have to give back P20 million to the government, you’d still be happy with it,” Balutan said.
While the PCSO is still awaiting the betting public’s reaction to the new tax law, Balutan said the important thing is that the taxes will automatically go to the charity fund, which will be given out to the needy.
Balutan believes the betting public has renewed its confidence to the new leadership of PCSO as evidenced by its increasing revenues.
For instance, the January sales of the expanded Small Town Lottery hit P1.87 billion from P1.7 billion last December 2017, a 103.96 percent increase from the sales of the same month last year.
“This is the great thing happening now, the people are continuously patronizing PCSO’s gaming such as Lotto, Keno, Suertes, and STL. Of course, we are happy that the PCSO has increased earnings, which means we can help our people more, especially those that need medical services,” Balutan said.
He assured the public that the agency will continue its efforts to increase the revenues.
“That is a good signal, that our countrymen still have confidence in betting and playing the PCSO games. We will continue these efforts to increase our ingress not just with STL but also Lotto,” he added.
The retired Marine general spoke to the press shortly after the Monday flag raising ceremony after he was recognized by the Philippine Marine Corps for the agency’s contributions during the Marawi City siege.
“The recognition given, not just necessarily to me, but the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) by the Philippine Marine Corps is very timely considering PCSO is in the controversial period,” Balutan said.
“I’m proud that at least for now, I’m back sa Marine Corps where I belong. I spent more than 37 years here, I spent most of my adult life dito sa Philippine Marine Corps. It heartens me that we received this rare opportunity and accolade by no less than my Marine Corps,” he added.
PCSO has a yearly calamity fund of P100 million approved by the Department of Budget and Management for natural and man-made disasters.
Earlier this year, the agency through Balutan gave P5 million to Palawan for the victims of the recent typhoon “Vinta” that killed dozens of residents in the southern towns of province.
PCSO also gave P35 million for tens of thousands of evacuees caused by the Mayon volcano eruption in Albay.
Last year, the agency also 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 to Marawi City victims.