Public School Teachers Pay More Taxes

The Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines recently published an infographic on the government's official website. The infographic is part of the Tax Watch campaign of these two government agencies with the objective of increasing transparency in tax payments. How the infographic relates to Philippine basic education is the realization that public school teachers are paying higher taxes than other professionals (accountants, doctors and lawyers) although teachers' salaries are the lowest among these professions:

Above infographic downloaded from

In related news, it turns out that the Performance Based Bonus of public school teachers which already came late is also being taxed at 20%:

Teachers grumble over 25% tax on bonus

By Ina Hernando-Malipot
Published: August 1, 2013
Manila, Philippines --- “Late na nga, may kaltas pa (Already late and there’s even deduction).”

This was the reaction of some public teachers upon receiving their long-awaited Performance-Based Bonus for 2012. According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the PBB was slashed with a “25 percent tax,” which “greatly angered” the teachers.

“Bonuses are not subject to taxation,” said ACT Chairperson Benjamin Valbuena. “This clearly reflects the insensitivity of the Aquino administration to the plight of teachers while at the same time confirming that basic social services like education are not his priority,” he added.

ACT Teachers Party-List legislative staff Atty. Maneeka Asistol Sarza explained that the PBB, as another bonus, allowance, or incentive, “should be received in full” by all employees. “Ang total bonuses ay non-taxable hanggang P30,000 kada taon, pero ang komputasyon at pagkakaltas ay nangyayari tuwing singilan pa ng income tax kada Abril at hindi sa panahon ng release ng bonus (The total bonus is non-taxable up to P30,000 per year, but the computation and withholding occurs in April and not during the release of the bonus),” she said. Its rate, she added, “also depends on the total income of the employee and not a flat 20 percent.”

Citing the implementing rules of PBB and tax law, Sarza explained that there were no provisions that state that there are separate taxes for the PBB. “So the minimum P5,000 shall be received in full,” she added.

Sarza also urged the affected public school teachers to “confirm with the Personnel or Accounting office” the possible reason for the said deduction. ACT, she added, is currently asking the Department of Education (DepEd) to issue an official explanation regarding reports on tax deductions from its division offices.

Valbuena said the half-year long delay of the release of the PBB to DepEd personnel continues to dismay the teachers and other education workers. “The PBB was long overdue and what is worse is that the divisive and discriminatory nature of this scheme is very obvious,” he said.

The PBB, Valbuena said, “clothes itself as a rewards mechanism for those who perform good, better, or best and implies that some teachers and staff do not.”

But in truth, he said, “any rewards system that pretends to set apart the ‘performing’ from the ‘non-performing’ falls flat in the face of the shortages which continue to be unmet by this administration.”