House panel OKs VAT exemption for PWDs

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Saturday, February 22, 2014


THE committee on ways and means of the House of Representatives recently approved a bill, which seeks tax exemption for persons with disability (PWD) on certain goods and services.

Marikina City Representative Miro Quimbo, committee chairman, said that the panel has agreed to refer House Bill 1039 to a technical working group (TWG) to fine tune it and reconcile the minor disagreements on the implementation aspect.

Authored by Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the bill aims to exempt PWDs from the current 12-percent Value Added Tax (VAT)

"Essentially there has been a consensus already to give it (VAT exemption). We will just have to refer to the TWG for purposes of fine tuning and reconciling the minor disagreements on the implementation as to how and who will define a PWD," Quimbo said.

He said the committee still needs clarification from Department of Health (DOH) for assurance that any VAT exemption given to PWDs will not be abused.

Quimbo said the bill aims to try to bring PWDs into the mainstream of the society so that they become productive members of society.

"What we seek to do is to convert a non performing asset, not just an asset but in fact a burden, to become even more productive. So today, they are a medical burden; they are burden to the family, etc., a great number of them anyway. But with these (VAT exemptions), these are just drops in the bucket towards their mainstreaming," Quimbo said.

House Bill 1039 also seeks to amend Section 32 of Republic Act 7277, or the "Magna Carta for Persons with Disability," by providing PWDs exemption from VAT in addition to the 20 percent discount they are already enjoying for the classes of goods and services.

Romualdez said his proposal is an equalizing measure because this will accord PWDs exactly the same privilege enjoyed by senior citizens who are exempted from the VAT by virtue of RA 9994.

"Persons with disability effectively enjoy only P12 for every P100 worth of good or service because the law does not exempt them from VAT, which is imposed on the net value of the good or service or 10 percent of the P80 after deducting P20, representing the 20 percent discount granted in RA 9442, for every P100 worth of good or service purchased," said Romualdez.

According to the leader of the House independent minority bloc, the proposed VAT exemption shall apply on the following: medical and dental services; purchase of medicines in all drugstores; public railways, skyways and bus fare; admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other places of culture, leisure and amusement; and all services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, and recreation centers.

National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) acting executive director Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga lauded the lawmakers in recognizing the plight of PWDs more than the economic value of the VAT exemption initiative.

"The sector is the social value of recognition, a step towards acknowledging the State's responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," said Zubiaga.

Local news

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