By Ben Rosario
Considered as the new modern day heroes, public health workers who have placed their lives on the line in the fight against COVID 19 may be granted a tax holiday in recognition of their selfless deeds.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo called for the tax incentive for the “tens of thousands” of health workers who have shown determination in caring for the thousand others who are sick with COVID 19.
In a bill she filed Wednesday, Castelo noted that Congress has already granted them a “special risk allowance’ which is contained under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law that was signed by President Duterte.
Castelo said her bill, entitled “ Health Workers’ Tax Holiday Act of 2020,” will grant the frontline medical workers additional benefits in the form of tax holiday.
“Since they are highly vulnerable to infection, being directly exposed to the virus as frontline workers, these heroes are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way to safeguard public health. Thus, it is but right and just to reward them if only to show the nation’s gratitude and appreciation for their service,” she said.
Under the bill, the income of “qualified health workers” for two months – from March 15 to May 15 this year – would not be included in the computation of their income tax.
In effect, their earnings for two months would be tax exempt. It income tax has been withheld for the covered period, it would be applied as part of payment for the remainder of 2020 when taxes are paid in April next year.
Qualified health workers are those “engaged in health and health-related work, and all persons employed in hospitals, health infirmaries, health centers, rural health units, barangay health stations, clinics, and other health-related establishments, whether public or private, and shall include medical, allied health professional, administrative and support personnel regardless of their employment status.”
The proposed law gives the Secretary of Finance the authority to extend the two-month period covered by tax relief by not more than three months depending on the Covid-19 pandemic.
It mandates the Department of Finance to issue implementing rules and regulations.