President Benigno S. Aquino III, ushered by PTAA secretary general and Travel Tour Expo 2014 executive director Marciano Ragaza III, tours the booths during the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) 21st Travel Tour Expo 2014 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City on Friday(February 14) with the theme: “Love Life, Love Travel”. The Department of Tourism is projecting 2014 tourism revenues to hit P1.4 trillion, higher by P110.6 billion of the expected earnings from domestic tourism in 2013 due in large part to a forecasted increase in the daily expenditures of domestic tourists. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III, ushered by PTAA secretary general and Travel Tour Expo 2014 executive director Marciano Ragaza III, tours the booths during the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) 21st Travel Tour Expo 2014 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City on Friday(February 14) with the theme: “Love Life, Love Travel”. The Department of Tourism is projecting 2014 tourism revenues to hit P1.4 trillion, higher by P110.6 billion of the expected earnings from domestic tourism in 2013 due in large part to a forecasted increase in the daily expenditures of domestic tourists. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – If the bill seeking to increase the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other benefits would be passed into law, those earning up to P82,000 would also be covered.

This after Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, the sponsor of the Senate Bill 2437 and chairman of the ways and means committee, has accepted the amendment by Senator Ralph Recto during the plenary deliberations to raise the tax exemption cap to P82,000.

“I welcome the amendment of Sen. Recto, the resident tax expert of the chamber. He is correct in saying that if we are to follow the logic of the proposal, we must use the correct figure consistent with the inflation rate,” Angara said Wednesday in a press statement.

The Senate on Tuesday evening approved on second reading the bill that seeks to raise the take-home pay of Filipino workers by increasing the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other benefits from the current P30,000.

The original proposal aims to increase the ceiling to P75,000.

“In fact, the same figure (P82,000) was given by BIR Commissioner Kim Henares in one of the hearings when she said that P30,000 in 1994 would be worth around P82,000 today,” Angara said.

Recto earlier said that the figure came from the National Economic Development Authority using the inflation rate as of October this year.

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7833, enacted in 1994, which mandates that the 13th month pay and other benefits, such as productivity incentives and Christmas bonuses not exceeding P30,000 given to both government and private sector employees are exempted from tax.

“In order for this injustice not to happen again because we left our system unchanged and outdated, our proposed measure mandates that adjustments be made every three years after the effectivity of this law, taking into account inflation,” Angara said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon also introduced an amendment to the bill stating, “the failure of the Secretary of Finance to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations shall not prevent the effectivity of the law.”

The Department of Finance earlier said the projected revenue loss if the bill would be passed is over P30 billion.

Angara said this was deemed a bloated figure by various experts who served as resource persons during committee hearings and estimated the revenue impact to be in the range of P3 billion only.

The senator said the measure is expected to benefit approximately half a million employees.

All senators were made co-authors of SB 2437, which is a consolidation of bills authored by Sens. Angara, Recto and Lito Lapid.

“Given that all of our colleagues in the Senate expressed their willingness to be co-authors of the bill, it clearly indicates that we all want our deserving taxpayers to benefit more from the fruits of their labor – a wonderful Christmas present to our hardworking Filipino workers and their families,” Angara said. (MNS)