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Senate bill pushes tax breaks for work-from-home folk

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 05:42 AM May 09, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — This Senate bill can make the taxman either laugh or cry.

Why add to the burden of work-from-home (WFH) employees who have been toiling away from their bedrooms, kitchens or patios for more than a year now to meet office deadlines and quotas?

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Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Francis Tolentino have filed a bill granting tax deductions to such employees, saying they have been incurring additional expenses at home, such as higher power consumption and longer internet use.

Senate Bill No. 1706, or the Tax Incentives for Individuals on a Work-From-Home or Telecommuting Program, seeks a tax deduction of P25 for every hour of work rendered by a WFH employee.

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“In providing for these allowable tax deductions, it will effectively increase the workers’ take-home pay and somehow these would suffice to cover part of their electricity, internet connectivity fees and other work-related expenses. The amount will be substantial especially for cash-strapped individuals,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Saturday.

The bill also allows employers to claim a 50-percent tax deduction on allowances granted to WFH employees. This, Gatchalian said, will encourage employers to provide workers much needed allowances.

The proposed measure also wants employees’ allowances and other benefits not exceeding P2,000 per month to be nontaxable.

Gatchalian cited a global survey, the 2021 Work Trend Index released by Microsoft in March, showing 46 percent of respondents sharing the view that their employers had never helped them ease the extra costs entailed by a remote work setup.

The survey was conducted among 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers in Microsoft’s 31 “global markets,” including the Philippines.

It showed that 63 percent of WFH employees in the Philippines felt overworked, while 31 percent felt exhausted by their current setup.

Gatchalian, the vice chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, cited another survey conducted last year by JobStreet.com showing 87 percent of employees in the country think their companies should shoulder their WFH costs.

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Francis Tolentino, Sherwin Gatchalian, work from home tax breaks
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