Wednesday, 17 February 2010

PGMA signs EVAT exemption for senior citizens

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today signed into law the bill exempting the country’s estimated 4.6 million senior citizens from paying the 12 percent expanded value added tax (EVAT) on basic purchases and other essential goods and services.

This was announced today by Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar.

Called the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994), the new law enables senior citizens to enjoy fully the 20-percent discount on consumer goods and services provided under a 2003 legislation known as RA 7342, otherwise known as “An Act to Maximize the Contributions of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges, and for Other Purposes.”

The EVAT exemption for the senior citizens, or those who are 60 years old and above, applies to purchases of medicines and essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment; fees of attending physicians; medical, dental fees and diagnostic and laboratory fees; fares for buses, jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, shuttle services, public railways, domestic air and sea transport craft.

The tax privilege also applies to services in hotels, restaurants and similar establishments; admission fees in cinemas, theaters and other places of culture, leisure and amusement; and funeral and burial services.

Additionally, the bill provides each senior citizen a monthly stipend of P500, subject to the periodic review of Congress in coordination with the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

In case of death of an indigent senior citizen, the amount of P2,000 will be awarded to his or her nearest kin as benefit assistance.

Under the bill, senior citizens may also enjoy a five-percent discount on their water and electric bills, on condition that the utilities are in the name of senior citizen and that the consumption is below 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 30 cubic meters water a month.

The measure also expands the penalties for those who refuse to grant the benefits. Establishments and their owners, managers, and personnel found violating any provision of the law face a penalty of between P10,000 and P50,000, or imprisonment of at least one month but not more than six months.

Administration congressmen led by House Speaker Prospero Nograles, one of the bill’s sponsors, described the measure as a significant legislation that will form part of President Arroyo’s legacy to the Filipino people after she bows out of office in June.

Rep. Reynaldo Uy (Samar), and Rep. Eduardo Zialcita (Parañaque) and Sen. Pia Cayetano, principal sponsors of the bill in the House and in the Senate, hailed the measure as a tangible recognition of the role senior citizens play in Philippine society.

Cayetano explained that the senior citizen’s discount under the original law passed in 2003, had effectively translated to only eight percent since seniors were also required to pay the 12-percent EVAT in their purchase of medicines, good and services. (PND)

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