PWDS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAN FINALLY ENJOY TAX BREAKS UNDER NEW LAW -ANGARA

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their families can finally enjoy value added tax (VAT) exemption and additional tax deductions as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10754 will be issued today.

"Layunin ng batas na ito na mapagaan ang pasanin ng ating mga kababayang may kapansanan. Magandang pamasko ito para sa kanila at sa kanilang pamilya," said Senator Sonny Angara, who sponsored the law which was enacted eight months ago.

Under RA 10754, PWDs are exempted from the 12-percent VAT on land transportation, domestic air and sea travels; on fees and charges for medical and dental services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of attending doctors in all government facilities as well as in all private hospitals and medical facilities; on cost of medicines; on funeral and burial services; on fees and charges in hotels, restaurants and recreation centers; and, on admission fees in theatres, cinema houses, concert halls, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement.

The VAT exemption is on top of the 20-percent discount on certain goods and services that PWDs are already entitled to under the current Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

The new law further grants a P25,000 annual income tax deduction to relatives, within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, who are caring for and living with a PWD.

The senator also expressed high hopes that the Department of Finance (DOF) will heed his call to forego with its plan to lift the VAT exemption of senior citizens and PWDs.

This move is part of the DOF's first tax reform package to mitigate leakages in the VAT system wherein, according to the finance department, even non-seniors and non-PWDs benefit from the exemption.

The DOF said they plan to replace VAT exemption with higher socialized pension and targeted cash transfers for the country's 7.5 million senior citizens and 1.4 million PWDs.

"Sabi ko nga, hindi pa napapakinabangan ng ating mga PWD ang batas, gusto na agad bawiin yung benepisyo. Based on our last dialogue with our finance authorities, they seem to be open to drop the seniors and PWDs on their proposed list of exemptions that will be removed," said Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee.

The lawmaker lamented the very low participation in the grant of benefits and privileges mandated by the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons mainly because some facilities and establishments, and even the PWDs themselves, are not aware of the policies that support them.

Of the 1.4 million PWDs, only approximately 30,000 are registered with PWD IDs and eligible to receive the benefits and privileges under the magna carta, based on the 2014 data from the Philippine Registry for Persons with Disability of the Department of Health.

Angara urged the government to intensify its information dissemination campaign, and to streamline the process for the application of the PWD ID.

"We must ensure that all disabled Filipinos are provided with the necessary assistance and opportunities that will help them develop their potential and become fully participative members of society," he said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines.

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