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CASTRO: PASS BILL ON POLL HONORARIA TAX EXEMPTION

A House lawmaker representing teachers urged the Senate to swiftly pass a measure exempting election servers such as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) from having their honoraria subjected to income and other withholding taxes.

In a statement, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said imposing a tax on the honoraria and allowances of election service volunteers destroys the spirit and intent of the Election Service Reform Act, which is to compensate the hardships of persons rendering election service.

Castro said that these election servers must enjoy the compensation in full and not bear additional burdens.

“As elections draw near, we urge the Senate to urgently pass the counterpart bill.”

“As elections draw near, we urge the Senate to urgently pass the counterpart bill exempting from taxes all amounts granted to election service volunteers in the national and local elections. Congress cannot let another election slip by and let the already measly honoraria and allowances of poll workers be taxed,” the legislator stressed.

In August, the lower chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill 9652, which would provide income tax exemption to compensation of BEIs and other election personnel, typically public school teachers for serving in the national and local elections.

The bill seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 to exclude election-related honoraria and allowances from the computation of gross income.

Senate Bill 1193 is a counterpart bill filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Castro said the honorarium and travel allowances of those volunteering to serve in the local and national elections are essentially not income but actually forms of reimbursement for the expenses incurred by the poll workers in the performance of their official duties and recognition of their volunteerism.

“Congress should also seriously consider increasing the allowances of poll workers especially now with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

The lawmaker said Congress should also seriously consider increasing the allowances of poll workers especially now with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Poll workers would most likely have to serve longer hours and are vulnerable as they are exposed not only from COVID-19 but also other dangers that come with serving in the elections,” Castro concluded.

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