COTABATO CITY – To ease the financial burden on Muslim government employees under the Bangsamoro government, some Bangsamoro legislators proposed a measure that will integrate zakat and the individual income tax return.
Members of the Parliament Mohammad Kelie Antao, Mohagher Iqbal, and Atty. Lanang Ali, Jr., the principal authors of BTA Bill No. 160, proposed that the zakat and the ITR be jointly integrated or collected simultaneously.
Zakat is an obligation that every earning Muslim must fulfill by giving to charities 2.5 percent of his net income.
The explanatory note accompanying the bill emphasizes the need for a more efficient system, stating, “We are experiencing different systems of deduction. We pay the income tax return in full, and we also give the obligatory zakat in full.”
The measure seeks to address this issue by incorporating zakat into the ITR, reducing the burden on Muslim government employees while also simplifying the taxation process.
The proposed measure will only apply to regular, contractual, and holders of political and appointive posts in the government service under the BARMM.
The finance officer of government offices will deduct both the ITR and the zakat due from each employee’s salary.
The ITR will be remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, while the zakat will be given to Lujnatul Uliya, or an office run by Muslim religious leaders responsible for collecting zakat.
Under the proposed measure, representatives from the Bangsamoro Parliament, the Darul Ifta, and the national government will discuss and resolve issues.
P25 million will be appropriated annually, pending the resolution of issues and the approval of the national government, to subsidize the amount of ITRs corresponding to the amount of zakat not remitted to the BIR. The corresponding amount from the subsidy will then be paid to the BIR in lieu of the unremitted taxes. (LTAIS- Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)