Catholic schools assert tax-exempt status after BIR imposes new tax exemption policy

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MANILA, Nov. 5, 2013—The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) is asking exemption from the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s new guidelines for Tax Exemption Rulings. 

Citing Catholic schools’ tax-exempt status under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, CEAP urged BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares to acknowledge the exemption of non-stock, non-profit (NSNP) religious and educational institutions, particularly CEAP member-schools, from the implementation of BIR Revenue Memorandum Order No. 20-2013. 

Issued last July 22, BIR RMO 20-2013 prescribes the policies and guidelines in the issuance of Tax Exemption Rulings to qualified non-stock, non-profit corporations and associations. It requires NSNP educational institutions to submit certifications of government recognition to operate as an educational institution, of operation or of good standing, and of utilization of revenues and assets. 

In a statement, CEAP said its lawyers have met with BIR officials last October 18 to discuss the organization’s position. The CEAP is yet to hear from the agency on its decision. 

“In essence, CEAP is requesting the exemption of NSNP religious and educational institutions from the implementation of BIR RMO 20-2013 based on the grounds (1) CEAP and its member-schools are exempt from taxation under the Philippine Constitution and the NIRC and (2) RMO 20-2013 invalidly restricts the tax exemption granted to NSNP religious and educational institution,” CEAP said. 

Pending Henares’ decision on CEAP’s position paper and request, CEAP is requesting its member-schools to defer compliance to the BIR RMO 20-2013 until November 8. 

The CEAP is an organization of over 1,400 Catholic schools, universities and colleges nationwide. More than 3,250 Catholic educators representing member-schools gathered in Cebu last September to elect the organization’s new set of officers. (YouthPinoy)

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