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Senator pushes perks for work-from-home scheme

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Sen. Francis Tolentino wants the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and the Telecommuting Act amended to provide additional tax deduction benefits to workers forced to work from home during quarantine.

He said ordinary workers forced to work from home have incurred additional electricity expenses while their employers enjoyed lesser expenses.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has prompted the government to implement lockdowns, forcing many firms and establishments to implement work-from-home arrangement.

“During Senate energy committee hearing… I suggested that probably it’s about time to amend the NIRC (or Republic Act 8424) and RA 11165, otherwise known as Telecommuting Act, that will provide additional tax deduction benefits for those who work from home but resulted in additional bills,” Tolentino said in an interview on “The Chiefs” aired over One News/TV5.

A bill that he intends to file on Monday, he said, would be a “win-win” measure for both employees and employers, and even for the government, as it would still collect Value Added Taxes (VAT) from electric bills.

“What I am contemplating to file on Monday is to amend the tax structure in such a way that those who are working outside their usual offices would now be granted a fixed monthly tax deduction when they pay their income tax or the employer will just give a fixed amount to their employees working at their homes,” he said.

“And these will be considered as business expenses and thereafter deductible on the part of the employer, so it’s a win-win situation on both employees and employers,” he pointed out.

Tolentino said he was looking at three options for the proposal, including requiring the employee to attach a form in his or her income tax return indicating how much the deduction should be, requiring employers to compute such deductions due at the end of the tax year, requiring employers to give a fixed amount to employees every month as subsidy for the latter’s electricity expenses.

The senator said the measure he is proposing, if adopted, would ensure continuity of business, financial relief for workers and VAT collection for the government.


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