Taxman in Philippines eyes digital realm of Netflix, Facebook

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2020 03:26 PM | Updated as of May 20 2020 04:15 PM

A smartphone with the Netflix logo lies in front of displayed "Streaming service" words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/File Photo

MANILA – The Department of Finance said Wednesday it was studying "viable ways" to tax any form of commerce on the internet after a lawmaker sought duties on the likes of Facebook and Netflix.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is "working very hard" to find out how to run after those who "are supposed to be taxed but are escaping taxation because they are on the internet," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

“Yes, we have started the study on improving our tax collections on video streaming, on commerce conducted through the internet,” Dominguez said.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier filed a bill proposing taxes on Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Google and other global internet companies that do business in the Philippines, aiming to raise P29.1 billion in revenues.

Netflix earlier said Filipinos spend "twice as much" time on the platform compared to the global average. Filipinos also spend at least 3.3 hours daily watching online content on mobile devices, it said. However, it refused to disclose total subscribers in the Philippines.

The Philippines is also the top social media user in the world according to the "Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview" by creative agency We Are Social. Filipinos spend an average of 10 hours and 2 minutes on the internet on any device, it said.