Tax-free poll duty fee

May 10, 2019

It is the only moral thing to do for a government agency tapping the personnel or human resources of another even for what may be considered as a patriotic duty.

Manning electoral precincts is not only a tiresome task; it is, in fact, a hazardous duty. It is hazardous to the health, safety, and security of deputized teachers as election precinct officers.

In extreme cases election day duty, can even be fatal for some.

And so, the need to put a premium on such non-academic duties for teachers, and we are glad that no less than the Commission on Elections is open to, even supportive of the idea.

The Comelec assured public school teachers who would be serving as Electoral Board members in the May 13 mid-term polls that it would help them get their honoraria tax-free.

In a statement, it said it is ready to assist teachers in getting their payment in full after rendering poll duties without the supposed five percent tax deduction.

“The Comelec assures the public of its readiness to assist tax-exempt poll workers in their compliance with this BIR requirement,” it said.

The poll body is deputizing its disbursing officers as administering officers in the execution and filing of the sworn declaration/affidavit.

The required documentary stamp tax and the cost of reproducing the affidavit would also be shouldered by the Comelec.

Under BIR rules, no taxes shall be withheld from public school teachers serving as members of the EBs provided that they will execute and file with the Comelec the prescribed sworn declaration of having an annual income threshold of PHP250,000.

The Election Service Reform Act states that EB chairpersons are entitled to honoraria amounting to PHP6,000; EB members with PHP5,000; DepEd Supervising Officer with PHP4,000; and DESO Support Staff with PHP2,000.

They would also be getting an additional travel allowance of PHP1,000 each.

There are approximately 255,000 teachers that would be serving for Monday's election.

The Comelec has allocated PHP3.2 billion to pay for the honoraria of EBs.

The teachers' main functions are to man voting precincts and assist voters during the elections. The poll duty rendered is not mandatory but voluntary.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education is now ready for the May 13 mid-term elections, an official said Thursday.

"We have already conducted a series of clustered conferences on the DepEd Election Task Force in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao," DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said in a press briefing.

Teachers and non-teaching personnel with poll duties would be provided adequate information and technical and legal assistance through the ETF, she added.