Representatives Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado and Juliet Cortuna have jointly proposed a measure that would ease the income tax burden of taxpayers whose dwellings have been totally destroyed by natural calamities.
According to the lady lawmakers, the proposed “Calamity Income Tax Relief Act” listed as House Bill 5400 provides tax relief to individual taxpayers earning purely compensation income whose primary places of residence—not covered by insurance and located in an area declared under a state of calamity—have been totally damaged.
Sy-Alvarado, who represents Bulacan’s first district, is a member of the National Unity Party; while Cortuna belongs to the A-Teacher partylist group, which is an ally of the NUP under the Coalition for Peace and Development.
Sy-Alvarado pointed out that on the part of the State, there should be a recognition of the plight and needs of calamity-stricken income taxpayers.
"We must be ready to uplift our fellow Filipinos who have become calamity victims in the speediest manner,” said Sy-Alvarado, a vice chairperson of the House Committees on Appropriations, and on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development.
“The benefits of granting these people tax relief is most apparent—these are productive citizens who pay religiously their income taxes, and the sooner we can put their lives in order again, the sooner it is that the State can expect them to partake in paying forward the help they receive in the form of their return to productivity in work and their civic duty of paying taxes," she added.
Cortuna, on her part, said: "In the same vein, the government must be compelled to do its part to help people get back right to their feet. A one-year income tax relief to those who lose all of their belongings is sought by this Act to be the right stimulus by putting money in their pockets, enabling them to recover the fastest way they may see fit."
Cortuna is also a vice chairperson of the House Committees on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, and on Higher and Technical Education.
HB 5400, now pending at the Committee on Ways and Means, states that individual taxpayers earning purely compensation income shall be granted relief from paying income tax for the taxable year when the total loss or destruction of his or her primary residence occurred.
“In recognition that taxes are the lifeblood of the government, however, this Act mandates that the foregoing income tax relief can only be claimed by an individual or his household once every 20 years,” Sy-Alvarado said.
In case the dwelling serves as the primary residence to multiple individual income taxpayers earning purely compensation income, only one of the taxpayers shall be entitled to claim the Income Tax Relief “to the exclusion of his or her co-residents and after they have executed a release, quit-claim, or any analogous document unequivocally assigning and authorizing the claimant-taxpayer to file the Income Tax Relief for their residence and that they likewise cannot claim it oftener than once every 20 years,” the bill said.