Group welcomes new bill exempting poll service pay from taxes

Published December 4, 2021, 3:17 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A group of education workers welcomed the filing of a new bill pushing for the tax exemption of poll workers’ pay.

(FILE PHOTO / DepEd)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines expressed support for the bill authored by Senator Leila de Lima and pushed for its immediate approval.

ACT also called on legislators to consider the bill a priority — saying the measure is “overdue” and is “especially important” as the 2022 elections nears.

“There are two more weeks left of session in both chambers of Congress before they go on recess,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

“We believe that, with enough will and decisiveness from our duly elected Senators, they can and should use this time to ensure that poll workers’ meagre pay will no longer be subjected to tax,” he added.

Basilio pointed out that honoraria and allowances of the Board of Electoral Inspectors (BEIs) “hardly suffice to cover the actual expenses of rendering services during elections, much less to be considered as income.”

“We hope our Senators would deal with this matter with a sense of urgency,” Basilio said. “It’s a simple yet very important measure that needs to be passed ASAP before our teacher-poll workers begin the preparations for the 2022 elections,” he added.

Meanwhile, ACT also noted that the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) arbitrary imposition of five percent income tax on the compensation of poll workers “must once and for all be rectified.”

The group said that it was only in 2018 that the BIR subjected poll workers’ honoraria and allowances to five percent income tax “without providing any legal basis for such.”

ACT reiterated its stance that election service compensation “cannot be considered as income” since teacher-poll workers are not employees of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Our legislators, who without the service of our teachers will not be in office right now, should ensure that teacher-poll workers will get the full amount of their hard-earned honoraria and allowances as part of recognizing the crucial role they play during elections,” Basilio said.

 
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