BIR owes each 600K
workers P9,000 blood money in 2008 SC tax refund case
April 2, 2017
QUEZON CITY – The
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) owes each 600,000 minimum-waged
workers nationwide with an estimated P9,000 “blood money” from the tax
they collected for six months in 2008 amid a law exempting the workers
from withholding tax, labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union
Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said yesterday.
In its decision released on
February this year, the Supreme Court said minimum wage earners (MWEs)
should not taxed because they are exempted from doing so by Republic
Act 9502 – the law giving exemption to minimum waged workers from
monthly salary tax deductions.
The law became effective
June 17, 2008. However, the BIR issued Revenue Regulation 10-2008 and
only exempted MWEs six months later. The TUCP filed a contesting
petition at the SC nullifying the regulation as contrary to the law.
It is estimated the BIR
collected an average P792 a month for six months from each MWEs at
that time but the BIR should also be charged with 12% legal interest
fees for nine years, said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of ALU-TUCP.
“This is a subtle form of
injustice done by BIR for minimum-waged workers who depended on their
daily pay to make both ends meet. The amount of money the BIR
collected is blood money that could have been spent to buy food, pay
for tuition fees and purchase medicines,” Tanjusay said.
He said the ALU-TUCP is
urging the SC to hasten the specific implementing rules and
regulations that lay the mechanism for the actual refund.
“We suggest the cash refund
should be coursed through the employers if the employers are still
existing. If the company has shut down, we suggest the refund should
be disbursed through BIR regional offices,” Tanjusay said.
Refund by means of tax
credit is more problematic because most of minimum-waged earners at
that may have become unemployed or remained at the same minimum waged
level and so they are still tax-exempt, Tanjusay added.