MANILA -Who's backing the bill seeking tax exemption for for prizes and awards granted to Filipino athletes in internationally sanctioned sports competitions?
A press statement from the House of Representatives said House Bill 3506 or the proposed "Tax Incentives for Professional Athletes Act of 2013" is principally authored by Buhay party-list Rep. Jose Atienza and co-authored by seven other members of the House independent bloc.
The bill is co-authored by Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Cavite 2nd District Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, ABAKADA party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Philip Pichay, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo, Quezon 3rd District Rep. Aleta Suarez, and La Union 1st District Rep. Victor Ortega.
In a statement, Atienza said "there is an imperative need to amend the country's laws to extend tax incentives to professional Filipino athletes who brought honor and pride to the Philippines."
He said the only consolation the government could give these athletes is to insure the income or awards could be enjoyed to the fullest especially when the athletes' "youth is gone and their work is done."
The party-list representative said the recent tax woes of boxing champ and Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquiao serve as an eye opener to extend tax incentive to any Filipino professional athlete who competes in any sports tournament sanctioned by any international organization and recognized or certified as such by the Philippine Sports Commission.
If passed into law, the measure will give tax exemption to prizes and awards of professional athletes who won in internationally sanctioned sports competitions and tournaments. The tax exemption covers prizes and awards
earned 10 years prior to the effectivity of the proposed Act.
Atienza said the tax incentives may be availed of or enjoyed by the winner-taxpayer who may have, or in connection with any pending assessments, tax cases or pending assessment charges or warrants and levy in the process of or yet to be implemented.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue earlier revealed that Pacquiao has paid P32 million in back taxes, which is just a small chunk of the P2.2 billion he allegedly owes government.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares has rejected as unfair the proposal to impose a lifetime tax exemption for Pacquiao.
She said honoring Pacquiao with the privilege may also expose the country’s skewed value system, which venerates icons and not the soldiers who risk life and limb to protect and defend the country.
“Ito ang magiging tanong: kung ako ay sundalo, eh bakit ako walang exemption eh ang puhunan ko ay buhay ko? Kung hindi naman public sector ang papag-usapan natin, sasabihin ng mga lineman, eh bakit ako hindi ako in-exempt eh tinataya ko ang buhay ko kapag nagre-repair ako ng electric lines. Pero ‘yung mga athlete, hindi naman nila tinataya ang buhay nila for the benefit of other people, it’s for themselves,” she said in a radio dzMM interview.