Poll workers’ tax exemption gets Senate OK

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POLL workers and others who serve during national and local elections may somewhat rejoice now that the proposed measure to provide exemption on their honoraria and other benefits from income tax passed on its third and final reading at the Senate.

This means honoraria, travel allowance and other benefits granted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to those who render service during elections will now be excluded from gross income tax, as stated in Senate Bill 2520, starting with the recent May 9, 2022 local and national elections and thereafter.

During the May 9 polls, 647,812 Department of Education (DepEd) personnel rendered service, while 319,317 acted as members of electoral boards.

Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda thanked the House for adopting the Senate’s version of House Bill No. 9652, which Salceda authored together with the Committee on Ways and Means.

The committee requested the House leadership last week to adopt the Senate version since it merely reiterates the House version, according to Salceda. “That way, we avoided the need for a bicameral conference committee since we are now of one and the same version.”

The legislator said that at just around P138.6 million in annualized revenue cost, which he believes is very reasonable given the job well done, few exemptions are better deserved. He commented that the past May 9 polls were the fastest national election count ever, and much of the credit for the smooth and relatively safe conduct of the polls belong to the election workers.

“I am hopeful that President Rodrigo Duterte will speedily act on the matter so that we do not need to withhold taxes anymore from the compensation. I think this will be on his desk by this week,” he said.

He also expressed gratitude to the country’s poll workers for their service and dedication.

Earlier, the Department of Finance (DOF) earlier said it would granting the exemption would be hard to implement and does not conform to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law principles. to make the tax system more efficient and equitable.

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

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