House panel approves tax discounts for medical front-liners

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MANILA – A bill providing a 25-percent discount to the personal income taxes (PIT) owed by the Covid-19 medical front-liners from income earned in the line of duty has hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.

During its hearing on Monday, the House ways and means committee, chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, approved in principle a substitute bill to House Bill No. 7351.

Salceda said the 25 percent discount will likely cover the taxes that medical front-liners would have owed on their Covid-19 allowances.

“That was the state’s attempt to compensate them for their service. Let me be clear: I do not want the government to tax their heroism,” Salceda said.

The original proposal, which is a full tax exemption, had a revenue implication of PHP9 billion.

Committee Senior Vice Chair Estrellita Suansing suggested the 25 percent discount as a compromise.

The exemption granted in this proposal will only cover the salary or compensation, as well as the gross receipts from the exercise of profession or employment received by a front-liner for Taxable Year 2020.

The exemption will not cover income received by medical front-liners from their other businesses, investments, and other kinds of passive income not related to serving, treating, caring, aiding, and assisting Covic-19 patients.

To help front-liners file their income taxes on time given the potential changes in their tax calculations, the Secretary of Finance will also be given the authority to extend tax filing by six months. (PNA)

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