Hidilyn Diaz Act exempting athlete's rewards from taxes OKd on 2nd reading

Published August 24, 2021, 6:51 PM

by Ben Rosario

The proposed Hidilyn Diaz Act easily hurdled second reading passage in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, August 24.

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House Bill 9990 seeks to clarify all laws on the imposition of taxes for bonuses, rewards, donations, gifts and other forms of emoluments granted to national athletes for competing or winning in international sports competitions.

Under HB 9990 such financial benefits of said athletes and their coaches will be exempted from all taxes and other fees imposed under ordinary circumstances by the government.

Authors of the legislative measures consolidated into HB 999 included Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Michael L. Romero; and Reps. Precious Hipolito Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City); Joey Sarte Salceda (4th District, Albay) and Enrico Pineda (1Pacman Partylist).

HB 9990 proposed to amend Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act and clarifies tax provision of the National Internal Revenue Code in connection with the grant of financial benefits to successful national athletes.

Approval of the bill came as 2020 Tokyo Olympics weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and three other medal winners continue to receive cash incentives, gifts and other bonuses given by government and the private sector in appreciation of their sports achievements.

The other athletes who shone in the Olympic games were Nesthey Petecio, Carlos Paalam and Eumir Marcial.

Romero, a champion sportsman himself, was among those who gave out huge cash incentives to the winning athletes, including a P3-million cash taken from his personal money.

Romero and Pineda authored House Resolution No. 2040 calling on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to exempt Diaz’s cash rewards, gifts and incentives from taxes.

“As our hero Sgt. Hidilyn Francisco Diaz comes hope to a proud and grateful nation, it is only fit and proper that she receives all of the awards, gifts and incentives that she truly deserves without the need to worry about any and all taxes in relation thereto,” Romero and Pineda stated.

Castelo authored House Bill 9888 that once and for all clarified the taxation issues that hounded Diaz and company.

“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,” note 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.

In his sponsorship speech of the bill, Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the legislative proposal will “close” the room for interpretation of tax provisions connected to the incentives received by achieving athletes.

“The bill also makes the tax exemption executory even if BIR does not issue rules and regulations. It also specifically indicates that it does not repeal other tax privileges of national athletes and coaches,” Salceda stated.