Solons seek P30,000 tax exemption for taxpayer with disabled dependent

February 5, 2012 11:41 am 

MANILA, Feb. 4 — Two lawmakers are seeking a P30,000 exemption on the taxable income of a taxpayer with disabled dependents to alleviate the taxpayer's financial hardships.

According to Buhay Party-list Reps. Mariano Michael Velarde and Irwin Tieng, if the Philippines is to adhere both to the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and the Constitution which stress the importance of rehabilitation, self-development, self-reliance and integration into the mainstream of persons with disabilities, then there must be concrete action towards at least easing the burden of the disabled Filipinos and their families.

The lawmakers said that their proposal, embodied in House Bill No. 5672, seeks to somehow alleviate, in a definite manner, the financial difficulties of Filipinos with disabled dependents by raising their tax exemption under the existing National Internal Revenue Code.

Velarde, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Revision of Laws, said the Asian Development Bank concluded in a study that disabled Filipinos remain among the poorest of the poor as most live in rural areas where social exclusion and isolation are part of their daily lives and experiences.

"The ADB observed the link between poverty and disability goes two-way: not only does disability add to the risk of poverty, but conditions of poverty add to the risk of disability," said Velarde.

He said the difficulties of disabled Filipinos cited by the ADB include limited access to basic social services.

The ADB study cited that access is a key problem when buildings are not constructed according to code. It cited "Access to education, access to health care, access to employment, and access to transportation are all severely limited for persons with disabilities. But access questions go beyond the physical. For example, there are very few schools in the Philippines that accept children with disabilities because of both a lack of appropriate school facilities and a lack of appropriately trained teachers. "Data from the Department of Education show that less than three percent of children and youth with disabilities have access to basic education." <P>Tieng said that clearly, Filipinos who are physically or mentally disabled are faced with wide-ranging social, economic and institutional difficulties in leading their lives.

"Obviously, such burden is suffered not only by the disabled, but by his or her loved ones as well, particularly the parents of dependent disabled children," said Tieng, a vice chairman of the Committee on Reforestation.

In HB 5672, the two lawmakers sought the amendment of Section 35(B) of Republic Act No. 8424, as amended by R.A. 9504, otherwise known as the NIRC, so that there shall be an allowed exemption of P25,000 for each dependent not exceeding four. For taxpayers with dependents incapable of self-support because of mental or physical defect or with disability, the additional exemption shall be P30,000 for each.

The bill also provides the additional exemption for dependents shall be claimed by only one of the spouses in the case of married individuals. In the case of disabled dependents, the additional exemption shall be claimed by both spouses.

It refers to "dependent" as a legitimate, illegitimate or legally adopted child chiefly dependent and living with the taxpayer if such dependent is not more than 21 years of age, unmarried and not gainfully employed or if such dependent, regardless of age, is incapable of self-support because of mental or physical defect or disability. (PNA)

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