SMS tax attacked

9 Sep 2009

A local lobby group has hit out at government proposals to levy a five-centavo (USD0.01) tax on every SMS or MMS placed in the country, saying it is unfair to make mobile users find the shortfall for a cash-strapped government. Mobile phone text messages have generated a revolution in the Philippines, but the state’s new levy could raise more than USD500 million per annum prompting TXTPower leader Anthony Ian Cruz to say: ‘To rebel against this new tax law is justified’. The Bill has already passed the committee phase in the lower chamber and its backers are looking to race it through parliament as soon as possible. Advocates of the tax say it is needed to bolster the government’s education budget, but Cruz told AFP that the state already collects a 12% VAT on mobile phone services and as such the additional fee was unfair.