Lawmakers welcomed Tuesday (Oct. 20) the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s issuance of the guidelines on the income tax exemption provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One law (Bayanihan 2).
Bacolod City lone district Rep. Greg Gasataya, Samar 1st District Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman, and Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Estrellita Suansing took note of the BIR’s publication of its Revenue Regulations No. 29-2020 last Saturday that ensures tax-free special allowances and hazard pay for country’s medical frontliners, while the country remains under a state of national emergency.
“I welcome and thank the Bureau of Internal Revenue for coming out with the guidelines on the income tax exemption provisions of the Bayanihan 2. I am sure this comes as a very good news to our health and medical professionals who are putting their lives and their families at risk daily as front liners in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gasataya, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, said in a text message.
He explained with the enactment into law of Republic Act No. 11494 or Bayanihan 2, the hazard duty pay of temporarily hired health workers and the COVID-19 special risk allowance for both public and private health workers will be spared from tax.
Sarmiento, chairperson of the House Committee on Transportation, expressed all-out support to the BIR’s move not to tax hazard pay and special allowances of medical professionals while the country is in a state of emergency.
“First of all, the hazard pay and allowances are not that much compared to the sacrifices of our frontliners and the dangers they face due to work. They are directly at the heart of the pandemic,” he said in a separate text message.
“In addition to this, not everyone may be entitled to receive the hazard pay and allowances. They have to fulfill the requirements and that may be hard to do. This is something that can definitely help our health workers,” the House leader pointed out
According to the BIR, the compensation of health workers who have caught COVID-19 while performing their duty or who succumbed to the disease will be tax-exempt. Covered by the tax exemption are the following: P1 million for those who died of COVID-19; P100,000 for those who got critically ill; and P15,000 for those with mild or moderate infections.
“The special allowances and hazard pay, which aim to recognize the crucial role our health frontliners play in this pandemic, should not be taxed.Maliit na halaga na nga lang ang mga ito, kung tutuusin, at dapat pa ngang dagdagan (These are just small amounts and should be augmented). This is why they should be tax-exempt,” Roman, chairperson of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs said.
Suansing, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means, also manifested her support to the BIR’s guidelines, saying that the country’s medical frontliners deserve support from the government, especially during this time of pandemic crisis.