Senator Sonny Angara, a staunch education advocate, called for the approval of his proposed tax relief measure which would make tertiary education widely accessible to Filipinos especially for those who cannot qualify for scholarship grants and other assistance.
Angara reiterated the appeal as he lamented that access to tertiary education remains problematic and elusive up to today.
“This bill seeks to help our people by providing that matriculation fees for tertiary education and allied expenses should be tax deductible from the gross income of a taxpayer,” the legislator said, referring to his Senate Bill No. 131, which seeks to amend section 34 of the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines.
The lawmaker’s bill, to be known as “Family Tax Relief Act,” aims to allow payments for tertiary education tuition fees and allied educational expenses not exceeding P40,000 as tax deductions from the gross income of an individual.
Tertiary education shall include post-secondary courses from higher educational and technical and vocational institutions.
The purpose of tax deductions is to decrease the taxable income, thereby increasing the net income or the take-home pay of the taxpayers.
“Such initiative is also a way of encouraging the parents to send their children to school and for working students to continue their education because of the tax incentives they could get,” the chairman of the Senate ways and means committee said.
The senator noted that in Malaysia, the allowable deduction on educational expense is up to 4,000 to 5,000 ringgit or equivalent to P60,000 to P70,000 while in Thailand, aside from tax deductions, an additional 2,000 baht or P3,000 per child is granted for educational allowance.
In the United States, tuition and related fees that are deductible is up to a maximum of $4,000 or nearly P180,000 to the income of the taxpayer who shouldered the expense for his/her own, or for the spouse, or for the dependent.
Angara likewise cited an annual poverty indicator survey released by the National Statistics Office in 2011 that shows that six million out of 39 million Filipinos aged between six and 24 are out-of-school youth or those who are not attending formal school or have not finished college or post-secondary courses.
“Ang matitipid mula rito ay mailalaan ng pamilya sa karagdagang gastos tulad ng pamasahe, pangkain, at iba pang pang araw araw na gastusin ng kanilang mga anak na nag-aaral,” the legislator said.
“We should not see this proposal as a possible revenue loss for the government. We should look at the bigger picture and think of the additional college graduates our country would produce and the significant contributions they could offer in the not so distant future,” the lawmaker added.