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Gov’t urged to ease process for online business registration

A LAWMAKER on Sunday urged the government to ease online small business registration by removing fees imposed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“Under current processes, you have to face 10 agencies to register a business in the country,” Albay. Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said in a statement on Sunday.

“It takes 33 days at least to complete these processes. And you have to pay a registration fee with the BIR to pay taxes. Imagine how absurd that is — there is a barrier to paying taxes,” he added.

The congressman, author of the proposed Online Small Business Support Services Act, said many small online businesses want to be legitimized but are struggling with processes at licensing agencies.

A committee headed by the Finance secretary has been created to identify private sector projects that will qualify for regulatory relief. It will also identify the specific permits, licenses, certificates, clearances, consents, authorizations, or resolutions that can be waived.

“Online businesses are the saviors of the Philippine economy in this pandemic,” Mr. Salceda said. “Many of them are home-based, and are the only source of income for many families.”

He said these businesses want to register, 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.”

Mr. Salceda urged the BIR to abolish the taxpayer registration fee of P500, which is imposed as an annual fee . The BIR must also relax rules on in-person registration for a taxpayer identification number, he added.

“It’s absurd to impose a fee to allow people to pay taxes. It’s the state who benefits from taxpayer compliance,” he pointed out.

He urged the government to create a business registration portal. “The most ideal form of this portal is a single-account system where the business registrant can access all digital application processes and where necessary forms can be automatically generated for the applicant.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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