Newspaper industry calls for VAT exemptions

REUTERS

The PRINT media industry has asked Congress for tax relief to help it recover, seeking value-added tax (VAT) exemptions on its major raw materials such as paper and ink, as well as on advertising sales.

The United Print Media Group Philippines (UPMG) said such exemptions would give the industry “greater financial flexibility” as economic conditions remain weak.

“Ultimately, the removal of the hefty 12% VAT would also be felt by readers through the better quality of journalism in the print media,” the association said in a position paper.

The UPMG said the volume of paper and ink purchased by print publications declined dramatically between 2017 and 2021, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, in line with the reduction in output from publishers.

The group also cited data from Statista indicating that newspapers’ advertising revenue share in the Philippines is currently 5.8%, showing steady declines since 2012.

Advertising company Dentsu, Inc. said in a 2021 report that digital advertising in the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 55.7% of the advertising market.

UPMG President Barbie L. Atienza said VAT exemptions would boost advertising and increase revenues from print publications. He also added that the impact on government revenue would be minimal.

“We are talking about about 2.5 billion pesos in total advertising revenue for the year,” he said in a Viber message, estimating the government VAT revenue from the industry at about 300 million. pesos every year.

He said the printing industry employs 6,000 workers.

The UPMG also proposed a 15% lower corporate tax rate for the industry, compared to 25% under the CREATE Act (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises).

He also proposed a tax assistance program that would include a tax holiday and refundable tax credits for print media subscribers and advertisers.

The UPMG also wants to partner with the Ministry of Education and the Higher Education Commission to implement a separate news and current affairs topic in the student curriculum to help students enjoy the value of journalism and to prevent them from falling victim to false information.

“In providing and disseminating news and information content, it is also undeniable that no other medium guarantees content as accurate, reliable and valuable as print,” said UPMG.

Mr Atienza said the proposals have the backing of Pangasinan representative Christopher VP De Venecia, chairman of the House Committee on the Creative Industry and the Performing Arts, who is drafting an initial bill based on the group’s suggestions. .

“However, there is very little time left in Congress now, (we would) like to strike up a conversation about (the state of the printing industry) and hope that it will be tabled again at the next Congress,” he said. he declared.

Business world is a member of the UPMG. – Russell Louis C. Ku


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