The monetary donations and rewards given to Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz are not tax-free unless donors have already paid the donor’s tax, Malacañang said Saturday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon reacted to his recent remarks that a new law may be needed to exempt Diaz from being taxed for her cash prizes and other incentives.
Drilon said it is “erroneous” for Roque to claim that a law is needed to exempt Diaz’s winnings from income tax payment, saying Republic Act 10699, or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act “already exempted all prizes and awards granted to athletes from the payment of income taxes.”
Roque, in response, said: “While the good senator mentioned Republic Act 10699, or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, signed into law in 2015, there is still the donor’s tax, which must be shouldered/paid by generous individuals or entities.”
Under RA 10966, an Olympic gold medalist will be granted a P10-million cash reward from the national government.
On top of the cash prize from the government, Diaz is also expected to receive multimillion pesos worth of gifts, in cash and in-kind, after bagging the country’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
On July 26, Diaz prevailed in a neck-and-neck showdown with China’s Liao Qiuyun at the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting event. Her historic win ended the Philippines’ nearly a century-long Olympic gold medal drought since it first competed in the games in 1924.
On Thursday, the Bureau of Internal Revenue said the P10-million cash incentive for Diaz that will be given by the Philippine government “shall be an exclusion from gross income by virtue of Section 32(B)(7)(d) of the Tax Code.”
The BIR added that the cash rewards and gifts from private individuals “shall also be excluded from the computation of her gross income under Section 32(B)(3) of the Tax Code,” presupposing that they have already paid the tax donors on the said items.
To dispute Drilon’s claim, Roque echoed the BIR’s remarks, noting that RA 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) provides for the rate of tax payable by a donor.
“The donations given to our athletes are excluded from the computation of the athletes’ gross income under the Tax Code. This, however, presupposes that the donors have already paid the donor’s tax. The donor tax rate, which incidentally was lowered with the signing of the Train Law to six percent, in excess of P250,000. Having said this, we thank the Bureau of Internal Revenue for issuing this clarification,” Roque said.
Under RA 10963, the amount of tax a donor must pay for each calendar year shall be “six percent computed on the basis of the total gifts in excess of P250,000 exempt gift made during the calendar year.”
After dressing down Drilon, Roque said the entire nation should appreciate the Filipino athletes’ determination to bring pride and honor to the country.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Thursday said Diaz need not declare in her income tax return all the gifts she received after bagging the Olympic gold medal.
On Wednesday, House Ways and Means chairperson Joey Salceda filed House Bill 9891, or the proposed Hidilyn Diaz Act, which aims to exempt rewards for national athletes and coaches who compete or win in international sports competition from any taxes, fees, and charges.*PNA