A tax break of as much as P50,000 should be granted to parents and legal guardians of children who have special needs, a congressional leader said on Thursday.
Rep. Mark Villar of Las Piñas City (Metro Manila), chairman of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, made the pitch under his House Bill 4516, which would grant P50,000 maximum deduction from the taxable income of parents and legal guardians of special children under 13 years old and which will cover the guardians’ dues on therapy, tuition for a private school, a medical professional’s diagnostic evaluations, specialized instructional materials and tutoring and transportation expenses to a medical facility or a school.
Villar’s measure covers the parents and legal guardians of children who have hearing or visual impairments, serious emotional disturbance including schizophrenia, language or speech impairments, autism, orthopedic impairments or traumatic brain injury.
According to the Department of Education’s Special Division, the estimated cost of taking care of a child with any of these disabilities is doubled compared with that of a regular child.
“It is a fact that children with disabilities and special needs face far more challenges, and it can also be very frustrating and challenging for their family because of their expenses on medical treatment, therapy and special education services, among others,” Villar pointed out.
In availing of the tax break, the bill requires that the parent or guardian shoulder more than half of the total financial support for the child.
It calls on the Bureau of Internal Revenue to draft implementing rules and regulations of the measure, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Education’s Special Education Division.
“The passing of this bill would mean a definite step forward on how the state looks out for its people,” Villar said.
Government data show that the number of enrolled children with special needs in public and private elementary schools is 92,429.