BIR URGED TO SUSPEND 25% TAX ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS
SENATOR Risa Hontiveros on Thursday called anew on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to immediately suspend the implementation of its revenue regulation circular that imposes a 25 percent tax on private schools.
“Dadami ang magsasarang paaralan at tataas ang bilang ng mga estudyanteng magda-drop out kung hindi maiwasto ng BIR ang kanilang regulasyon. Ang edukasyon sa bansa ay serbisyo na kailangang protektahan para sa kinabukasan ng ating kabataan. Let’s extend these private schools the lifeline they urgently need. BIR must take action now,” Hontiveros said.
The senator said the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines informed her that the tax hike has not been suspended.
“Bilang solo mom na nagtustos ng pag-aaral ng aking apat na anak from grade school to college, alam ko ang hirap ng pagbayad ng tuition fee, at tiyak na mas lalong mahirap sa panahon ng pandemya. Ang aking pangamba ay kung ganyan kataas ang buwis na ipapataw sa mga schools, mapa-pass on ito sa mga magulang na nakukuba na sa mga gastusin ng pang-araw-araw,” she added.
The COCOPEA lamented that stock for-profit schools are being questioned when availing of the preferential tax rate of 10% based on Sec. 27 B of the National Internal Revenue Code.
“I urge BIR to clearly issue a ruling that entitles private schools to the 10% preferential tax rate, and the 1 percent tax rate for three years in light of the pandemic. It’s cruel to impose this sharp increase in the middle of a deepening economic crisis. Sa panahon ngayon, dapat tinutulungan natin silang manatiling buhay, hindi yung sinisipa pa silang pababa,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros is co-author of Senate Bill 2272, which will clearly cover proprietary institutions in the tax benefit.
However, the senator said it is paramount that BIR immediately clarifies the inclusion of private schools in the 10 percent tax rate even before SB 2272 is enacted into law.
“Bawat oras na hindi nalilinaw ang regulasyong ito, may mga empleyado, guro, at estudyante na matinding maapektuhan. Umaksiyon na ang BIR bago pa matuluyang magsara ang mga paaralan. Schools are gateways to a better life and when we fail to protect them, we also fail to provide the promise of a better future for many Filipinos,” Hontiveros concluded.
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means has postponed the scheduled Thursday hearing on Senate bill 2272 in deference to the demise of former President and Senator Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.