House panel approves bill to exempt athlete prizes from tax

NESTHY PETECIO

THE HOUSE Committee on Ways and Means has approved on Monday a measure to exempt from tax donations and rewards conferred on athletes participating in international competitions.

In a hearing, the panel approved the committee report and an unnumbered substitute House Bill, known as the Hidilyn Diaz Act, would amend Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act to exempt from tax, charges or fees any rewards and bonuses granted to athletes and coaches participating in international competition.

Prizes will also be classified as deductible against gross income when computing for the donor’s income tax. The tax exemptions are to be retroactive to June 1, 2021 to cover incentives given to athletes and coaches who participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Considering the negligible foregone taxes from such gifts, and the representations these athletes and coaches make in international competitions which are officially endorsed by, and made on behalf of, the State, these foregone revenues ultimately redound to the benefit of the State,” Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, the committee’s chairman, added.

Proposals of the bill that were consolidated into the substitute bill, including one filed by Mr. Salceda, came in the wake of the success of Philippine athletes at the Tokyo Games, including a gold medal by weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz.

Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo M. Ordanes, the author of House Bill 9899 or the National Athletes Tax Privilege Act, said in his sponsorship speech that the measure will encourage the private sector to support international athletes at no additional cost to the government. This will also help the government direct its public funds to other priorities.

During the deliberations for the bill, an amendment to expand the tax exemptions to include donations for athletes and coaches competing in local state-sponsored competitions was discussed.

Mr. Salceda noted in a statement that there is a greater need to work on greater “end-to-end support” for sports, adding that the country should “invest in our athletes when they are still preparing to win.” — Russell Louis C. Ku

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