BIR urged to
return P5 billion tax refund it owes to poor workers
November 17, 2017
QUEZON CITY –
Workers’ group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (ALU-TUCP) is demanding the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
and Department of Finance (DOF) to return in cash an estimated P5
billion they unlawfully collected from minimum-waged workers
nationwide for seven months back in 2008.
The group insists a cash
refund including its legal interests the collected money earned from
2008 to 2017.
“We cannot understand why
the BIR and the DOF is quick to squeeze money from the workers but
it takes forever for them to return those. Mahiya naman kayo! Those
are workers’ blood money. Pinaghirapan na yan ng mga manggagawa,
ibalik na ninyo! said Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson.
In its 56-page January 24,
2017 ruling, the Supreme Court nullified several provisions of BIR
Internal Revenue Regulation 10-2008 that disqualify Minimum Waged
Earners (MWEs) from tax exemptions on their wage, bonus, and other
compensation benefits such overtime pay, hazard pay, holiday pay,
and night shift differential pay including fringe benefits in excess
of P30,000 including those who received their 13th month pay bonus.
In other words, the BIR
continued to collect taxes on the basic wage, bonuses and other
benefits from millions of minimum-waged workers nationwide from June
to December 2008 despite of a law exempting minimum-waged workers
from such taxes starting July 6, 2008.
The SC also directed the
BIR to grant a refund or allow a refund through withheld tax
adjustments or a claim for tax credits by those subjected by IRR
workers who were subjected to tax may have remained a minimum-wage
earner up to this day but they cannot claim for tax credit because
they are exempted from income tax.
Some may have been
promoted and some may have been unemployed. Some have become OFWs.
Some are already deceased,” Tanjusay said, adding: “In fairness to
the workers subjected by the regulation, the best option here is a
The SC ruling stemmed from
petitions filed by lawmakers, individuals and labor groups including
the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).