STATE-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) appealed to Congress to bring down the current 20-percent documentary stamp tax rate (DST) imposed on the purchase of lotto tickets to as low as 5 percent, lamenting that the high tax rate reduced their available funds for their medical assistance program (MAP).
During a briefing by the House Committee on Appropriations on the proposed 2023 national budget, PCSO Chairman and former Rep. Junie E. Cua said the imposition of the DST tax rate on lottery tickets “substantially reduced” available funds for the MAP, the PCSO’s flagship charity program.
Following the enactment of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law (Republic Act 10963) in December 2017, the DST rate was doubled to P0.20 from P0.10 per lotto ticket.
In his presentation, Cua said their budget for MAP dropped from P8.6 billion in 2018 to P2.1 billion in 2021 due to the 20-percent DST rate. Likewise, the number of MAP beneficiaries in 2018 declined from 528,190 individuals in 2018 to 272,130 individuals in 2021.
For the first half of this year, the PCSO’s budget for MAP stood at P850 million, benefitting only 110,403 individuals.
“In fact, we would like to seek the support of Congress to reduce it to 5 percent so that we will be at par with the tax levied on Pagcor [Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.]; Pagcor is levied only 5 percent. And yet it does not have the mandate that is required of us,” Cua said. “We are supposed to use our funds to support medical assistance program with the national government while Pagcor does not have that kind of mandate.”
Based on their latest estimates, Cua said they are expecting their net charity fund next year to reach P16.4 billion. However, the bulk of which 9P11.15 billion) will go to the 20 percent DST while their MAP will only get P1.39 billion. The remaining balance of the projected net charity fund will go to their mandatory contributions (P2.36 billion), Small Town Lottery Charity Fund Share (P982.7 million) and equipment lease rental (P499.7 million).
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee already endorsed for plenary approval the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (Pifita) or Package 4 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), which included a provision on reducing the DST rate from P0.20 to P0.10.
For the first semester of this year, Cua also reported that their ticket sales have reached P25.92 billion, surging by 32.15 percent from P19.61 billion a year ago on the back of the full reopening of the economy.
PCSO is aiming to hit P46.1 billion in ticket sales this year and P55.78 billion next year.
To further enhance revenue generation, Cua said they are eyeing commercialized operation of a customized PCSO lottery system for five years, digital selling and marketing of PCSO lotteries using mobile phones and personal computing devices and development and test run of new entertaining games using digital platforms.