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Saving the day

A lawmaker this week called on the new government committee on regulatory relief to give priority to making online small business registration easier and to eliminate the registration fees charged by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The call, at a time the economy tries to open its doors to people that they may get their services back under the pandemic, responds to the activation of the government committee tasked to promote regulatory relief in compliance with Bayanhian 2.

Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, has weight in making the call, being the author of the provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act on regulatory relief for business.

The author of the proposed Online Small Business Support Services Act that provides online businesses loans, grants and skills training, also stressed that many small online businesses want to legitimize their operations as registered businesses, but are struggling with the processes in licensing agencies.

Salceda’s says online businesses are the saviors of the Philippine economy in this pandemic, and that many of them are home-based and are the only source of income for many families.

“They want to register as formal businesses so they can avail (themselves) of government loans, grants and other services. They want to register with online payment systems, but it’s not easy to register a business right now.”

He has noted that under current processes, an applicant has to face 10 agencies to register a business, and it takes 33 days at the minimum to complete these processes, and one has to pay a registration fee with the BIR to pay taxes.

We agree with the Albay congressman, who urged the BIR to relax the rules on in-person registration for taxpayer identification number, that the barrier to paying taxes is pretty much absurd.

His paper, “Recommendations To Eliminate Red Tape: A Focus On Business Registration” is a guide for the regulatory relief efforts of the government pursuant to Bayanihan 2, which maps out a strategy to make single-day business registration possible.

Salceda, who heads the House tax committee, also urged the BIR to abolish the taxpayer registration fee of P500, imposed as an annual fee by the agency.

“It’s absurd to impose a fee to allow people to pay taxes. It is the State who benefits from taxpayer compliance. Paying taxes is not a privilege that people will apply for. It’s a government rule we are happy to see people follow. So, we should not impose barriers to paying taxes.”

We have seen how small online businesses have kept families afloat amid massive layoffs and business closures as we grappled with restrictions during the pandemic. They need to be encouraged and assisted. It is the least the government could do.

Topics: Editorial , online small business registration
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