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Salceda: Low tax morale affects investments

A country's high tax uncertainty is a reflection of low tax morale among taxpayers, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said during an online meeting of the House of Representatives tackling the bill that protects freelancers.

Salceda said there's a direct link in "uncertainty caused by low tax morale and business/investment decisions," with "unpredictable or inconsistent treatment by tax authority and considerable bureaucracy and compliance requirements" among the factors that cause the former.

Among the labor force that suffers from these burdensome, if not confusing taxation processes are the freelancers. Hence, the Freelancers Protection Act, which includes taxation provisions.

Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia, who sponsored the bill, said that "freelancers have been overlooked by the state when it comes to policy."

He said "there are at least 1.2 to 1.5 million freelancers and the measure seeks to bring these workers into the formal economy."

Salceda, who co-authored the bill, added that its provisions will prevent labor exploitations in this sector, which serves as a lifeline for many Filipinos during the pandemic. The rise of the digital economy also calls for parallel legal provisions, he added.

The proposed measures include legal definition of the freelancer, dedicated lanes in BIR offices, and mandatory written contracts between clients and freelancers.

The measure is now up for second and third reading approval in the House plenary.

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