House panel OKs tax exemption for Pia Wurtzbach
MANILA, Philippines – The House ways and means committee has approved House Bill 6367, which seeks to exempt Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach from payment of taxes arising from her winnings from the international pageant.
Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, HB 6367 author, moved for the adoption of the measure by the committee on Tuesday afternoon, January 26. The measure was unanimously approved.
The measure will be submitted for plenary approval. Wurtzbach was set to pay her courtesy visit at the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) earlier reminded Wurtzbach to settle her tax obligations from the prizes she won at the Miss Universe pageant in December last year.
According to BIR officials, Wurtzbach’s winnings should be subjected to a maximum 32%-tax. However, they also clarified that Congress can pass a measure to exempt Wurtzbach from tax payment.
Aside from her one-year salary as the reigning queen, Wurtzbach also brought home the $300,000-crown, made of 18k gold, diamonds, and blue sapphire. The BIR earlier said the crown was taxable but the beauty queen defended that it was given to her on loan and therefore cannot be subjected to tax.
During the House hearing, the BIR said Wurtzbach would not be at risk of double taxation on her Miss Universe earnings for as long as she can provide proof that she settled her taxes in the United States.
“If she wants to have the tax she has paid there (US) credited in the Philippines, she has to submit documents as proof,” said BIR lawyer Nina Asuncion. – Rappler.com