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House approves bill exempting Pia Wurtzbach from taxes

/ 03:12 PM January 26, 2016
Pia Wurtzbach

Pia Wurtzbach

The House of Representatives ways and means committee on Tuesday approved a bill exempting Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach from taxes.

Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the author of the bill, moved for the passage of the bill before the committee, which raised no objection against its passage.

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READ: Solon seeks tax exemption for Pia

During the hearing, Rodriguez asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue lawyer Nina Asuncion if Wurtzbach’s beauty essentials and other perks are taxable – gown, shoes, wardrobe, swimwear, fashion stylist expenses, as well as access to movie and broadway premiers and travel expenses.

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Asuncion only said it depends whether these items are taxable, and that the Miss Universe Organization may be the one to shoulder these expenses.

Rodriguez asked if Wurtzbach’s $300,000 gem-encrusted crown may be taxable. Asuncion said it may be subject to 20 percent final tax.

“Since it’s a singular honor that a fellow Cagayanon won for the Philippines, I therefore move that we pass this House Bill 6367 provided for tax exemption,” Rodriguez said of the bill he authored with his brother Abante Mindanao Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr.

Wurtzbach, 26, is a Filipino-German beauty raised in Cagayan De Oro city.

According to the bill, the following are Wurtzbach’s perks as the reigning queen: year-long salary as Miss Universe; luxury accommodations in the New York city apartment as well as living expenses; one-year scholarship in the New York Film Academy; a year’s supply of hair care product and tools from Farouk Systems, the maker of CHI Haircare; a new custom designed diamond tiara designed by DIC worth $300,000;

Shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes; evening wear by Sherri Hill; swimwear by Yamamay; denim by Carrera Jeans; skincare products from IMAGE Skincare; a year supply of sunless tanning products and services from Bold Sunless Tanning; two business-class round trip tickets from US to Asia provided by Delta; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness; hair services from John Barrett salon; modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographer Fadil Berisha; representation by Rubenstein Public Relations; dermatology and skincare services by Dr. Cheryl Theliman-Karcher; professional health and nutrition consultation by Tanya Zuckerbrot MS; dental services by Dr. Jan Linhart;

Casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel representing sponsors and charity partners; access to various New York city events including movie premiers and screenigs, Broadway shows and launch parties; year-long consultation with a fashion stylist; and access to personal appearance wardrobe.

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The bill would now be transmitted to the plenary for amendments and debate.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has said he supports the bill exempting Wurtzbach from taxes.

READ: Belmonte lauds Pia for volunteering to pay taxes

In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer Lifestyle on Sunday, Wurtzbach vowed to pay income on her earnings. She also said her crown cannot be taxed because it was only loaned to her by the Miss Universe Organization.

“I am aware just like any employee that I have to pay taxes. I have never (missed it) when I was with ABS-CBN, Binibining Pilipinas. When I start working in the US, I’d be doing that as well,” Wurtzbach said.

READ: Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach to pay taxes

“I don’t think they can tax me for something that’s not mine. This is on loan,” Wurtzbach told the Inquirer, holding up her crown.
Wurtzbach is expected to arrive at the House on Tuesday to receive the congressional medal of distinction. TVJ

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TAGS: 2015 Miss Universe, Cagayan de Oro, House of Representatives, Miss Universe, Nina Asuncion, Pia Wurtzbach, Rufus Rodriguez
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