Tax-free privilege sought on cash incentives, gifts for Hidilyn, top athletes

Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo believes a sports hero like Hidilyn Diaz who has given Filipinos a reason to celebrate in the face of natural and public health devastations should be allowed to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Hidilyn Diaz

To do this, Castelo has filed House Bill 9888 to exempt from taxation all gift, prizes and other perks that national athletes stand to receive from donors and patrons who are grateful for the international sporting feat they gave the country.

Castelo said HB 9888 will once and for all clarify the issue on taxation that might baffle sports achievers like Diaz as they receive gifts and prize in cash and in kind.

Under the bill the prizes and donations given to Olympic gold winner like Diaz should be tax free.

While an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue has already declared that Diaz’s over P50 million gifts and prizes are tax free, there remains a debate if this interpretation of the tax and sports incentives laws is correct.

“The law does not expressly exempt those prizes and donations given by third parties from donor’s taxes. It only exempts the awards and prizes gained by the athletes from the local and national competitions themselves, and not those given by third parties,” noted Castelo.

She said her bill “intends to expressly exempt all donations given by reason of local and international competitions from the payment of donor’s taxes, including those given by private entities.” "The tax exemption would encourage the private sector to give bigger rewards to our national athletes,” she stressed.

Diaz is expected to receive over P50 million in cash and gifts. The computation does not include the P10 million tax-free cash incentive government is mandated to give her under the law. The P50 millio will include the P3 million personal gifts from President Duterte and a similar amount coming from Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero.

The House of Representatives is raising up to P10 million as additional reward. Business leaders have pledged amounts ranging from P1 to P10 million.

The champion weightlifter has also been promised a condominium unit, two house and lot units an free airline tickets estimated to cost over P20 million.

Castelo said a six-percent donor’s tax on the minimum P50 million Diaz would receive would amount to P3 million.

“It’s a big sum donors could give to other athletes, their coaches and support teams, instead of paying it to the government,” she said.