BIR’s next target: STL operators

Zinnia B. Dela Peña - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue is going after small town lottery (STL) operators that have been remiss in paying billions in taxes.

The unpaid taxes cover the 10 percent documentary stamp tax on sweepstakes and lotto tickets.

STL operators have not been charged any documentary stamp tax since they began operations in 2006.

Under the National Internal Revenue Code, a 10-centavo documentary stamp tax for every P1 bet in jai alai, horse race, lotto, or other authorized numbers games.

BIR commissioner Kim Henares said STL operators must pay the documentary stamp tax including the accrued liabilities which have been pegged at around P2.9 billion.

“The operators are the ones who should be paying, that’s why we’re running after them. We have already given them our assessment,” Henares said.

“We go after everyone who does not pay the correct taxes,” the BIR chief added.

Nina Asuncion of the BIR legal department said private STL operators accredited by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office should pay the accumulated documentary stamp tax liabilities.

She asserted that the PCSO is exempted from paying documentary stamp tax since it is the charity arm of the government.

However, STL operators insist the existing rules and regulations agreed upon with the PCSO do not require them to pay documentary stamp tax.

STL operators claim they are only required to remit a portion of their sales to PCSO, congressional districts in the area of operation, local government units and the Philippine National Police headquarters and local stations.

STL, which involves betting on two-number combinations, was conceptualized in 2005 with the goal of stamping out jueteng and other illegal numbers games.

Earlier reports said STL was used as a front by jueteng operators. An earlier investigation showed that franchises for STL had been awarded to the same people behind jueteng.

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