Text tax 1342

Texting for Economic Improvement?

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling could take a tip from his counterparts in the Philippines as he searches for money-saving ideas this weekend: a tax on text messages.

The parliament in Manila is planning to implement an excise tax on text messages in a desperate attempt to narrow the country’s budget deficit this year.

A bill in the house of representatives is seeking a tax of five centavos ($0.001) on every message sent by a mobile phone.

With the Philippines regarded as the world’s text-messaging capital, it could raise between $590m (£362m) and $1bn in revenue. According to official statistics, the country’s 70 million mobile-phone users send an average of 10-12 text messages a day.

The government says that it will only support the tax if it does not affect consumers.

However, the three major telecommunication companies in the Philippines, which are protesting against the proposed measure, said the move would hit users because offers such as unlimited texting would no longer be viable.