By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means is rallying behind the measure seeking to exempt from income tax the compensation given to persons rendering election service for local or national elections.
Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing expressed full support to House Bill 8542, principally authored by ACT Teachers partylist Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro.
“I support the bill,” she said in an interview.
She said they were counting on the Department of Finance (DOF), Commission on Elections (Comelec), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and National Tax Research Center (NTRC) to submit their respective positions on the proposed exemption of compensation rendered by poll workers in local or national elections from income tax.
“We are awaiting for the position paper of DOF, COMELEC, BIR and NTRC,” Suansing disclosed.
Tinio and Castro cited the “urgent need” to enact the bill to clarify the rules and regulations of the BIR and to expressly exempt the persons rendering election service for local or national elections.
“The Election Service Reform Act or Republic Act 10756 significantly increased the honoraria, allowances, and other compensation of volunteers for election service, most of whom are still public school teachers who sit as members of the Boards of Election Inspectors. However, the law is silent as to the tax treatment of such compensation,” they said.
“While, there should be no change in the tax treatment of the honoraria and other compensation for election service–which have never been subjected to income tax prior to the passage of ESRA and the 2019 barangay and Sangguniang elections–recent rules and regulations of the BIR reversed the situation and considered the election compensation as income,” they lament.
Tinio said such act destroys the spirit and intent of the ESRA, which is to compensate the hardships of persons rendering election service.
“They must therefore enjoy their compensation in full and not bear additional burdens,” he said.
HB 8542 provides that all compensation received by persons rendering election service in national or local elections as defined under ESRA or Republic Act 10756 shall not be included in the computation of gross income and shall be exempt from income tax.
The bill tasks the BIR Commissioner to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 90 days after its effectivity.