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Tax benefits for sponsors of COVID vaccines for teachers, kids urged

ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has filed a bill seeking to grant lucrative tax benefits to private corporations and wealthy individuals that will sponsor the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccination of the 933,000 teachers and 23 million children in the public school system.

As proposed by Defensor under House Bill (HB) 9200, private entities paying for the COVID-19 jabs of teachers and children will be entitled to claim 150 percent of what they spent for the shots as “additional deduction” from gross income subject to tax.

The bill seeks to expressly include COVID-19 vaccines as qualified donations under the 23-year-old Adopt-a-School Program.

“We want to ramp up the immunization of our teachers, and later, our children, by encouraging the private sector to come in and help,” said Defensor, vice chairperson of the House committee on welfare of children.

Defensor earlier said he expects COVID-19 shots for Filipino children below 16 years old to be approved by regulators and available in the country by the summer of 2022.

“We recognize that many businesses and affluent families are already helping to suppress the pandemic in so many ways, such as by spending for the inoculation of their employees and their dependents,” Defensor said.

“Our bill will help prevent ‘donor fatigue’ and encourage more private entities to help some more by contributing to the vaccination of our teachers and children,” Defensor said.

The Adopt-a-School program was established by Congress in 1998 through Republic Act 8525 to help mobilize private funds in addressing the school system’s persistent resource gaps.

Under the program, donors of qualified materials and supplies badly needed by public schools may further deduct from their gross income up to 150 percent of the value of their contribution.

For example, should a corporation sponsor P10 million worth of supplies, it may claim an extra deduction of up to P15 million from gross income.

For purposes of claiming deductions, the valuation of the donation other than cash is based on the acquisition cost or purchase price of the materials or services supplied as evidenced by official receipts.