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The Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) organized the first Forum on Tax Concerns that was held on 21 March 2016 at the Ichikawa Hall, Occupational Safety and Health Center in Diliman, Quezon City. The activity, attended by almost one hundred workers and union members, aimed to address the tax-related inquiries and to clarify the revenue regulations issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

To this end, Mr. Primo Marasigan, a Revenue Officer III at the BIR, discussed a presentation that outlined the salient provisions of various revenue regulations. He further explained some computation examples in order for the participants to better understand taxation matters.

“The existing revenue regulation exempts Minimum Wage Earners (MWEs) from taxation and that any increase in the statutory minimum wage will make the entire wage taxable,” reiterated Mr. Marasigan. Without the proper legislation, the only solution available to the workers is to optimize in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the use of Php104,000 total of de minimis benefits and Php82,000 total of 13th month pay and other bonuses.

“Taxation is a challenging subject for both professionals and ordinary Filipino workers,” said Dir. Benjo Santos Benavidez, “That’s why I hope that you relay what you have learned from this forum to your coworkers and fellow union members”.

The forum confirmed the Department’s commitment to improve the working conditions and wages of Filipino workers by pushing for an amendment of the existing Minimum Wage Law. The amendment seeks to exempt the MWEs regardless of any increase in their wages resulting from a CBA.

Other concerns were agreed to be discussed in the Tripartite Executive Committee (TEC). These include the proposed increase in the non-taxable amount of one sack of rice that can be distributed to the workers and the effect of transferring the workers or company operation to other region on the workers’ wages, among others.

END/ Athena M. Villagonzalo