/ 31 May 2022

THE SENATE has approved the measure that seeks to exempt teachers’ elections honoraria and other benefits from income tax.

Voting 17-0-0, the senators approved on third and final reading Senate Bill 2520 which excludes from gross income the honoraria, travel allowance and other benefits granted by the Commission on Elections to those who rendered election service.

The bill will apply to honoraria received by teachers for the May 9, 2022 local and national elections and the succeeding elections.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, co-author of the measure, said giving poll workers the full amount of their honoraria and other benefits shows appreciation for their hard work and sacrifices to ensure peaceful and orderly elections.

“Kung hindi na natin papatawan ng buwis ang sahod at benepisyo ng mga guro, maipapadama natin ang ating pasasalamat at pagkilala sa kanilang mga sakripisyo upang matiyak na malinis at maayos ang ating halalan,” Gatchalian said.

The election honoraria and allowances were never subjected to tax until the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and the 2019 midterm elections when the Bureau of Internal Revenue imposed a 5 percent withholding tax.

This year, election honoraria and allowances were subjected to 20 percent withholding tax.

The Department of Finance earlier maintained that the proposed tax exemption could be difficult to implement and runs counter to the principles of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law to make the tax system more efficient and equitable.

Gatchalian, however, noted that the tax code already provides for tax exemptions.

He earlier urged the DOF and the BIR to submit their proposals on how to give poll workers the full amount of their honoraria and other benefits since elections are only held every three years.