Briones speaks up on teachers’ plea to make poll honoraria tax-free

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones has spoken up on the issue of making the teachers’ election honoraria tax-free.
Briones speaks up on teachers’ plea to make poll honoraria tax-free

Teachers have been slamming the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for deducting a 5% tax on the honoraria and allowances of teachers who will serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).

During a press conference, Briones reiterated that the law requires compensation to be taxed. She reacted after a resolution has been made granting tax exemption only to those with annual income of P250,000 and below.

She said, “The Constitution says that all compensation have to be taxed. The Comelec (Commission on Elections) has its own guidelines as well. This is all with the Bureau of Internal Revenue Code.”

“Kung below P250,000 ang annual salary, tax-exempt which is for everybody," Briones added.

Briones said that if teachers’ want their honoraria to be tax-free, a law needs to be passed for amendments to be made to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

"It's going to be a lengthy process, especially if it will be only for teachers," Briones said

The education secretary also asked the teachers to follow the law and set an example to their students.

"We are teaching our learners to pay taxes correctly. We are involved in the many campaigns of the Finance department, Central Bank and so on... To emphasize a learning, let us say lessons to our children, whom we say we teach to pay taxes," Briones said.

DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla cited that due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, everyone, including teachers shall be exempted from taxes if their annual income is below P250,000.

"Ang nagawa namin na negotiation with Comelec, teachers who will be receiving honoraria and travel allowance who know that they are not earning P250,000 in one year, they have to submit a sworn declaration of such to the election officer who will validate that certification," Sevilla explained.

“Then, the honoraria and allowance will be given in full,” she added.

The Commission on Election has confirmed they will be giving their support to teachers who will be filing for the tax-exempt.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said, “Comelec disbursing officers have been deputized as administering officers in the execution and filing of the sworn declaration/affidavit. The required documentary stamp tax and the cost of reproducing the affidavit shall be shouldered by the Commission through the disbursing officers.”

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) who earlier filed a petition on the legality of the imposition of tax on teachers’ honoraria had called the negotiation a “success.”

With the latest DepEd resolution of tax exempting teachers with annual income of below P250,000, ACT stated, “Tagumpay! Sa tuloy-tuloy na protesta ng ACT, hindi na kakaltasan ng tax ang honorarium at travel allowance ng mga BEI na may annual taxable income of P250,000 pababa.”

— Sally, The Summit Express

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