Judges join SC bid vs BIR taxes on bonuses
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A group of judges has joined the bid in the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)’s imposition of taxes on fringe benefits and bonuses of government workers.

In a 48-page petition filed last Tuesday, the Regional Trial Court Judges Association of Manila (RTCJA-Manila) questioned the legality of BIR Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 23-2014 that subjects to withholding tax the allowances, bonuses and honoraria received by employees and officials of the judiciary.

The group supported the petition filed by government workers and court employees led by the Confederation of Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) earlier this month stating that the assailed RMO violated their right to due process of law under Article III Section 1 of the Constitution.

“The assailed RMO significantly increased the burden of the officials and employees of the judiciary without due observance of the requirements of notice and hearing for the benefit of those affected thereby, and without being duly published in accordance with the prescribed legal formalities,” argued the petition filed by RTCJA-Manila president Judge Armando Yanga.

Petitioners also agreed with COURAGE that the BIR usurped the power of Congress in imposing the taxes on bonuses and benefits of civil servants.

But the judges cited an issue against the RMO specifically offensive to the judiciary.

They said the measure the BIR issued last June and started implementing last month violated the fiscal autonomy of the courts protected under Article VIII, Sections 3 and 10 of the Constitution.

“The independence of the judiciary enshrined in the Constitution demands that said memorandum should not apply to members of the judiciary,” petitioners pointed out.

The judges further argued that the RMO violated Republic Act No. 9227, the law governing special allowances of members and employees of the judiciary. They said this law was created precisely to guarantee the fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

“In a democracy, the courts enjoy independence, that is, they are free to perform their functions without interference from the executive or legislative branch of the government. For a government of law and not of men can be assured only by a judiciary that is independent and free, passionately devoted to the impartial administration of justice,” they stressed.

With these arguments, petitioners asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the RMO, which subjects all benefits received by employees and officers of government to 30 to 32 percent taxes.

 

 

BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE CONFEDERATION OF UNITY EMPLOYEES JUDGE ARMANDO YANGA JUDICIARY RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES REGIONAL TRIAL COURT JUDGES ASSOCIATION OF MANILA REPUBLIC ACT NO REVENUE MEMORANDUM ORDER SUPREME COURT
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