Gov’t vs small businessmen

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I own a small retail store in a middle-class neighborhood. Every year, when I renew my business permit, the Quezon City Hall evaluator insists that my sales should be bigger than the previous year’s, no matter if the economy is bad, or the groceries and sari-sari stores have been mushrooming in the neighborhood. That said, then every year, I pay a bigger city tax on top of other various, miscellaneous fees and other taxes such as the community tax. I also pay a monthly and quarterly percentage tax plus the annual income tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Besides, I am required to keep a book of accounts, issue receipts, etc. Now, I am required as well to pass by the Barangay Hall to get and pay for my barangay clearance before I go to City Hall.

Doing all these, I try to single-handedly run the store with a little help from a house helper for whom I am now required to pay SSS, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth premiums. With all these expenses, I could not even afford to give myself a salary from my store earnings. I am just hoping every year that I will do better or I will just have to close shop if I can’t afford it anymore.

Then I read about Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile giving 18 senators P1.6 million each for Christmas, this after hearing that the pork barrel of Quezon City councilors is the highest in the land and that government employees got their Christmas bonus on top of their 13th-month pay. This makes me mad! (I have observed how redundant most of the government employees are, that’s why they take long breaks.)

If the government wants to encourage more entrepreneurs because it cannot afford to give its constituents jobs, this is not the way to do it. Why make life so hard for entrepreneurs? Why not simplify payment of taxes for small businesses such as a uniform rate per type of business/per size of store/per location (whether residential or commercial)? Then we just go to City Hall or BIR once a year to pay a single fee and be done in a few minutes instead of so many trips, with loads of documents to show and books to keep.

I believe most small-scale business people are willing to pay their dues to the government, but the government is making it hard for them.

To government authorities, please use our hard-earned money wisely!

—MARGARITA LOPEZ,

solosola50@yahoo.com

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