Private schools laud House panel’s approval of bill clarifying tax rates
FOLLOWING the swift second reading approval of the bill clarifying the income taxation of proprietary educational institutions, an alliance of private schools has expressed hope that the measure can be signed into law before the new school year starts this August and September.
In a news statement issued on Thursday, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) Managing Director Atty. Joseph Noel M. Estrada said the immediate approval of House Bill 9913 can help schools to fully focus on dealing with the learning crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic that the country is currently grappling with.
Estrada said with the few remaining number of days in the legislative calendar and the number of urgent measures lined up in Congress, the chamber is racing against time to have the law enacted in the 18th Congress.
He added the legislative policy intervention would provide stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, as it is crucial and complementary to any economic measures to revive the battered economy.
The lower chamber already approved the bill on second reading last Tuesday. It is expected to approve the measure on third and final reading next week.
“We also urge our many private education stakeholders to join us in our collective appeal to Congress, to extend a lifeline to our struggling schools during this pandemic, to ensure the continuity of learning for our students, to secure the jobs of our teachers and personnel, and to provide livelihoods for the many small businesses [e.g., carinderias, tricycle drivers] who are dependent on our schools,” he said.
“We pray for our congressmen that they may continue to be filled with courage and the strength of purpose to urgently pass this landmark legislation for Philippine education in this 18th Congress,” he said.
Under HB 9913, a preferential tax rate of 10 percent imposed on proprietary educational institutions will be reduced to 1 percent from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023, after which the tax rate shall be set at 10 percent under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE).
It is meant to intervene in the implementation of the recent regulation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), increasing the tax rate of private educational institutions to 25 percent from 10 percent. The schools had raised a howl over the BIR regulation, saying it contradicts the spirit of the CREATE law, and will worsen the financial plight of pandemic-hit schools, resulting in more closures.