Teachers to Senate: Pass bill exempting ‘meager’ poll service honoraria from 20% tax

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the Senate to pass the tax exemption bill for the teachers’ election service pay before the 18th Congress ends.

As Congress resumed sessions to canvass election results for the presidential and vice presidential posts Monday, May 23, ACT said the Senate must thank teachers by scrapping the 20% tax on election service pay and refund previous tax collections on the same.

The group urged Senate President Vicente Sotto to lead the push to ensure its legislation before sessions end on June 3, 2022.

“Our election workers cannot wholly feel the state’s recognition of their vital role in the past elections as hefty tax deductions practically eroded the measly raise on election service pay,” ACT said in a statement.

The group added it is urgent for the Senate to fast-track the legislation that will exempt all previous and future election service pay from taxes.

The House of Representatives has already approved the proposal in August 2021 but has only reached committee level discussions in the Senate, ACT pointed out.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10727 in November 10, 2021 set an honoraria of P7,000 for chairpersons of the election board (EB), P6,000 to the members of the EB, P5,000 to the Department of Education supervisor official (DESO), and P3,000 for support staff and medical personnel.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue however said that a 20% tax must be levied on these in accordance with the Tax Revenue for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law.

The Comelec has since expressed support to ACT’s calls in a Senate Committee on Ways and Means hearing.

“Our poll workers yet again delivered exemplary service despite last election’s dirty politicking and the un-transparent automated elections system. Our teachers were subjected to harsh conditions and unnecessary hardships, but they fulfilled their duties and went above and beyond to protect the sanctity of our people’s votes,” ACT said.

“The integrity of this elections may be deemed questionable, but not the integrity of our teacher-poll workers. They deserve to be fully remunerated for their service, without burdensome tax deductions,” the group added. # (Raymund B Villanueva)