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On the approval of House tax panel of measure to exempt election servers’ honoraria from income tax

May 17th, 2021

House tax panel approves measure to exempt election servers’ honoraria from income tax; Salceda says tax exemption ‘reasonable’

The House Ways and Means Committee approved today a proposed unnumbered substitute bill to exempt election servers such as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) from having their honoraria subjected to income and other withholding taxes. BEIs and other election personnel, typically public school teachers, are given allowances for serving in national and local elections under Republic Act No. 10756, or the Election Service Reform Act.

“My mother was a teacher for 43 years, so I support this measure. The cost is very reasonable, at around P56.8 million. It’s worth apprehending just one bigtime tax evader. It’s an easy choice,” Salceda said.

Salceda adds that he will be a principal sponsor of the substitute bill to the measures filed by Rep. France Castro and Rep. Lloren Cuaresma.

“As part of the House leadership team, I will be help defend this bill so that the House can fast-track this in time for the 2022 elections,” Salceda said.

According to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), taxes withheld for the 2019 National and Local Elections amounted to P56.8 million.

“Considering both the risks election workers take, the relatively small size of their compensation for such an important function, and the reasonableness of the tax foregone, this proposal does not pose serious threats to our revenue strength,” Salceda said.

“As the proposals have similar goals, the Committee is inclined to prepare a Substitute Bill for the two measures,” Salceda added.

The Substitute Bill will have a proviso that amends the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, to exclude election-related honoraria and allowances from the computation of gross income.

The bill specifically notes “honoraria, travel allowance, and such other benefits as may be granted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to persons rendering election service pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10756, otherwise known as the Election Service Reform Act” from Section 32 of the tax code.

“It’s a very low-cost measure that will help election servers breathe a little easier. The decision to approve it was simple and easy,” Salceda said.

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