Tax deductions pushed to offset cost of WFH setup

Published by rudy Date posted on May 9, 2021

by Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star), 9 May 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for tax deductions to offset the cost of those doing their jobs under the work-from-home (WFH) setup or are using hybrid work arrangements.

“As employees in a WFH and hybrid work arrangement are likely to be in it for the long haul, it comes with a lot of costs that workers are now facing, such as the lack of logistical assistance, internet and utility expenses, and their mental wellbeing,” said Gatchalian, vice-chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs.

He cited a recent survey by Microsoft called the First Annual Work Trend Index – conducted among 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 global markets including the Philippines – that showed 42 percent saying they still lack essential office supplies even after a year of working from home.

The survey also showed that one in 10 doesn’t have adequate internet connection to do their jobs and 46 percent saying their employer does not help with remote work expenses.

While employees keep up with today’s fast-paced digital world, the survey showed 63 percent of workers in the Philippines “feel overworked” and 31 percent “feel exhausted.”

Gatchalian also cited the survey conducted by Philippines 10 months ago that showed 75 percent of respondents claiming they did not receive any reimbursement or allowance for their electricity and internet expenses.

It also showed 87 percent of respondents who believed their employers should shoulder their WFH costs and 38 percent claiming they experienced a reduction in income due to poor internet service.

Gatchalian said new benefits in the form of allowable tax deductions could help ease the burden of telecommuting employees such as a reduction of P25 from their taxable income for every hour of work under WFH arrangement, which will lessen the taxes they have to pay which, in effect, could increase their net pay.

He also said employers should grant them allowances or other benefits not exceeding P2,000 per month, which can be legislated as a non-taxable benefit.

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