Tax relief urged for small- and middle-income earners

As the income tax season closes, ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio reiterated the need to provide income tax relief for workers and employees in the public and private sectors.

“Everytime small- and middle-income earners file their tax returns, every payslip they get, they see that much of what they earn goes to the government, leaving barely enough for their needs,” said Tinio.

“For some, they wonder why they give away a third of their salaries when they can barely make ends meet for themselves and their families,” he added

Tinio explained that there is a need to increase the income taxpayers' annual personal and basic exemptions in time with the rise in cost of living and with salary and wage increases. These exemptions will result to higher take-home pay.

In 2008, when the exemptions were last adjusted, a government employee earning the minimum P6,149 could take home a non-taxable salary of at least 68% of his or her earnings because of the P50,000 basic personal exemption (BPE).

One in the middle level (earning around P12,748) is assured of at least 33%, while the minimum wage earner in the private sector is assured of 42%.

Today, the non-taxable earnings have deflated. The BPE stands at 46% of the minimum salary in government (P9,000 monthly), 22% of those in the middle level (P18,549), and 35% of that of a minimum wager.

Tinio urged the passage of House Bill 6723, which he filed on November 2012, that proposes to increase the BPE to P75,000 and additional exemptions to P40,000 per dependent. The proposed BPE will restore the non-taxable earnings to 2008 levels.

He also filed in December 2011 another proposed law for tax relief-HB 5661 aims to increase the amount of tax exempt bonuses and incentives from P30,000 to P60,000.