Bill exempting PWDs
from VAT nears enactment
PASAY CITY, 18 Dec. (PIA)--The Senate and the House of Representatives
have ratified the bicameral conference committee report of a bill exempting
persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the 12-percent value added tax (VAT)
on certain goods and services.
The bill, which seeks to expand the benefits and privileges of PWDs under
Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta of PWDs, was co-authored by Senators
Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay and Ralph Recto, and principally
authored by Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez and sponsored by Ways and Means
Committee Chairman Rep. Miro Quimbo in the Lower House.
“We in Congress recognize that there is still a lot to be done in uplifting
the status of PWDs in our society. I thank our colleagues for the smooth
passage of this bill which aims to give reprieve to the plight of over a
million PWDs in the country,” said Angara, sponsor of the bill and chairman
of the Senate ways and means committee.
Based on the 2010 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were
more than 1.4 million Filipino PWDs or those who are suffering from
restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or
sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range
considered normal for a human being.
Under the bill, PWDs will be exempted from the VAT on land transportation,
domestic air and sea travels; on fees and charges for medical and dental
services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of
attending doctors in all government facilities as well as in all private
hospitals and medical facilities; on cost of medicines; on funeral and
burial services; on fees and charges in hotels, restaurants and recreation
centers; and, on admission fees in theatres, cinema houses, concert halls,
and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement.
Aside from the VAT exemption, the measure also grants incentives to
taxpayers who are caring for and living with a PWD, who are within the
fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to the taxpayer.
“As long as the PWD, regardless of age, is not gainfully employed and is
chiefly dependent upon the taxpayer, the taxpayer caring for them can claim
additional personal exemption under our Tax Code. We must ensure that these
taxpayers are accorded the same privileges insofar as having dependents are
concerned,” the lawmaker explained.
If this bill is passed into law, it will align the PWD law with that of the
Expanded Senior Citizens Act which provides a VAT exemption on top of their
20-percent discount on particular goods and services.
The Department of Finance pegged the estimated foregone revenue at P4
billion but the ways and means chairman argued that “the benefits that will
be enjoyed by the PWDs and their families from this measure far outweigh the
supposed revenue loss to the government.”
Meanwhile, both houses of Congress have also recently ratified the bicameral
conference committee report of a bill granting local water districts (LWDs)
automatic condonation of their unpaid income tax dues, removing the
conditions prescribed under Republic Act 10026 or the Act Granting Income
Tax Exemption to LWDs.
Angara explained that with the lifting of condonation requirements, the tax
savings of these LWDs will help them improve water quality, expand their
water services, and provide affordable potable water especially to areas
that are beyond the reach of big water utilities.
Both bills will be then transmitted to the Malacanang for President Aquino’s
signature. (PH Senate/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)