BIR, Comelec urged: Defer 20% tax on teachers’ allowance for election duties
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to defer the higher withholding tax on the compensation of teachers who will do election duties in the upcoming May polls.
In a statement, Hontiveros said a number of teachers tapped for election duties have been “blindsided” by the BIR’s move and the Comelec’s consent to increase the withholding tax from 5 percent in 2019 to 20 percent this year.
“I ask that the BIR and the COMELEC defer the collection of the 20% tax. Gaya ng karamihan ng ating mga kababayan, nagsisimula pa lang ang ating mga gurong bumangon mula sa dagok ng pandemya. Kaya napaka-wrong timing talaga at sobrang lupit ng tax increase na ito,” Hontiveros said.
(I ask that the BIR and the Comelec defer the collection of the 20-percent tax. Like most of our countrymen, our teachers have just started to recover from the effects of the pandemic. That’s why this extremely high tax increase is really ill-timed.)
Earlier this month, members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers also protested the planned 20-percent tax on the travel allowance of those among them who will serve as watchers in the May elections.
ACT members said their regional unions reported that their P2,000 travel allowance would be subjected to a 20-percent tax—or a deduction of P400—instead of the previous five-percent tax.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10727, an honorarium of P7,000 will be provided to the chairperson of the election board (EB), P6,000 to the members of the EB, P5,000 to the Department of Education supervisor official, and P3,000 for support staff and medical personnel.
“Kapag nabawasan ng 20% ang matatanggap ng teachers, ano na ang matitira sa kanila? Sa katunayan, dapat ngang i-exempt sa tax ang election service compensation. The next best thing we can do is to keep it at 5%. It’s the least we can do for them. The 20% withholding tax is just too much,” Hontiveros said.
(If their allowance will be reduced by 20 percent, what will be left for them? Actually, election service compensation should be exempted from tax collection. The next best thing we can do is to keep it at five percent. It’s the least we can do for them. The 20 percent withholding tax is just too much.)
Hontiveros also urged the BIR and the Comelec to immediately respond to the concerns of teachers on the said tax by organizing a dialogue with them.
“They really shouldn’t insist on implementing this tax increase now. Kung sa boksing ito, eh hindi pa nga nakakatayo ‘yung tao matapos ma-knockdown ng pandemya ay pupuruhan na ulit ng suntok sa mukha. Huwag namang ganito. Tumbasan naman natin ang sakripisyo ng ating mga guro,” she added.
(They really shouldn’t insist on implementing this tax increase now. If this is boxing, your opponent has not yet recovered from being knocked down by the pandemic and yet you are punching again. It should not be this way. Let us compensate for the sacrifices of our teachers.)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.