Hidilyn Diaz Act: House panel OKs bill on tax-free perks for athletes
MANILA, Philippines — The substitute bill on the tax exemption of incentives for athletes was approved by a House of Representatives panel on Monday.
The House Committee on Ways and Means consolidated various versions of the Hidilyn Diaz Act — named after the weightlifter who recently bagged the country’s first Olympic Games gold medal — which grants tax incentives on cash donations and rewards given to athletes by private companies.
The consolidated bill would amend Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
Under the measure, rewards, bonuses, and other forms of emoluments for national athletes and coaches who compete in international sports competitions will be exempted from all taxes and other fees.
The proposal was filed by several lawmakers including Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Joey Salceda and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco after Diaz captured the gold medal for the women’s weightlifting tilt in the 55 kilogram category in record-breaking fashion in Tokyo.
After Diaz’ victory, the private sector showered her with rewards ranging from cash, houses, free flights and other perks.
It was unclear, however, whether or not a part of the grants made by private companies to Diaz was actually taxable, as the current law provides tax exemption only to rewards from the state.
Some lawmakers believe that there is no basis to tax rewards given to Olympians like Diaz.
Hence, the lawmakers filed the proposed measures to clarify the vagueness in the law.
Prior to the bill’s approval, there was a brief discussion on whether donations given to athletes competing in local state-sanctioned competitions would be included.
Lawmakers, however, agreed that the substitute bill’s coverage should be limited to international competitions, which is the intent of the proposed Hidilyn Diaz Act.
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