More senators back bill correcting ‘erroneous’ tax raise on private schools
MANILA, Philippines — More senators have expressed support for a bill aiming to correct an “erroneous” interpretation of the tax imposed on private schools that have been struggling financially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement Tuesday, Senator Sonny Angara said it is likely the bill will be approved “by an overwhelming majority in the Senate” after more senators signed as co-sponsor of the measure declaring private schools exempted from the 25 percent corporate income tax.
Those who have been made co-authors of Angara’s Senate Bill 2272 were Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe and Richard Gordon.
“How can you not support a measure that is fair and just, and corrects an injustice to private schools?” Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said.
“The bottomline is that private schools have been paying for more than a half-a-century a preferential tax rate of 10%, so how could a law that cuts taxes for all corporations instead increase by 150% the taxes private schools pay?” he added.
An organization of private schools earlier claimed that more private schools may be forced to close or raise tuition due to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) Regulation No. 5-2021 increasing to 25 percent from the current 10 percent the income tax rate on so-called proprietary educational institutions run by stock corporations.
Angara said not only has the tax regulation affected the schools, but the livelihoods of thousands of teachers and non-teaching personnel in private educational institutions.
“Sa nakaraang taon ay nakita natin ang pagsara ng maraming pribadong paaralan dahil sa pandemiya kung saan pinagbawal ang face-to-face education. Dahil dito ay maraming guro na ang nawalan ng trabaho at mas marami pa ang inaaasahan na maaapektuhan kung ipapatupad ang probisyon ng Revenue Regulation 5-2021 ng BIR ukol sa mga pribadong eskwelahan,” Angara said.
(In the past year, we saw that many private schools closed because of the pandemic where face-to-face education was barred. Because of this, many teachers lost their jobs and many more may lose theirs if the BIR’s Revenue Regulation 5-2021 is implemented.)
“Sa panahon na ito kung saan napakaraming Pilipino ang naghihirap dahil sa pandemiya, hindi napapanahon ang pagpapataw ng mataas na buwis, partikular sa mga pribadong eskwelahan na sa kasalukuyan ay hirap na hirap sa kanilang hinaharap na krisis,” he further said.
(During this time where many Filipinos struggle during the pandemic, it’s not time to impose higher taxes, particularly on private schools that are having a hard time coping with the crisis.)
Angara also stressed that the BIR’s order does not align with the goals of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
“The intention of CREATE was to provide tax relief to industries affected by the pandemic and not to place an additional burden on them just like what this BIR issuance has ended up doing to the private educational institutions,” Angara said.
“Create is being trumpeted as a measure to save companies from death during this pandemic. So how can it be that the language in CREATE ends up as the notes for the funeral taps for these schools?” he went on.
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