The health advocacy group Anakalusugan has welcomed the decision of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to revoke its controversial order imposing tax on health insurance premiums of workers, saying this will make Christmas merrier for at least 6 million Filipino employees affected by the now rescinded memo.
Anakalusugan has launched an online petition seeking to rescind Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 50-2018, which states that health card premiums are included in the computation of the P90,000 tax-free privilege on benefits and bonuses of employees.
“We would like to thank everyone who joined us in our collective effort to petition the BIR to scrap the provision of RMC 50-2018 taxing HMO benefits. HMOs are used by over 6 million of our working countrymen to augment Philhealth in cases of sickness and medical emergencies. They should not be made to suffer and pay taxes for a benefit they will avail of in such extreme circumstances,” the party-list group said.
“The ‘de minimis’ benefits with a threshold of P90,000 aim to alleviate our working and productive countrymen and adding HMO benefits will downscale whatever comfort they will receive for the work they provide,” added Anakalusugan.
The memorandum was earlier assailed by Senator Sonny Angara, chairperson of the Senate committee on ways and means, who insisted that the health insurance premiums paid by employers for their workers should remain tax-free.
BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay acknowledged that health insurance premiums are not affected by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
“The implementation of the pertinent provisions under RMC No. 50-2018 relative to the group health insurance premiums and director’s fees, which were not affected by the provisions of the TRAIN Law, are hereby deleted from RMC 50-2018,” Dulay said.
“We thank the senators led by Sen. Sonny Angara in articulating the sentiments of our working people affected by this order. We congratulate the BIR and Commissioner Caesar Dulay in heeding the call of our people and correcting this oversight,” Anakalusugan said.
“To all those who signed and joined us and to all those benefitted, taking the HMO benefits from the P90,000 threshold will truly make our Christmas a merry one,” the group added.