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Measure proposes reduced taxes for parents of children with special needs

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A BILL seeking to grant tax cuts to parents of children with special needs has been filed at the House of Representatives.

The proposed law seeks to “alleviate the financial strain that many families with special needs children face daily and to encourage them to continue providing the necessary care and support to these children, thus promoting their overall well-being and development,” Muntinlupa City Representative Jaime R. Fresnedi said in House Bill No. 9690.

“A solo parent, and for spouses, the parent who has a higher income, shall be entitled to a 1% deduction in income tax upon submission of receipts on expenses incurred in caring for a child with special needs,” according to a copy of the bill.

“We envision giving a financial lifeline to these caregivers through income tax deductions due to expenses incurred in caring for children with special needs,” he added.

Expenses that may be deducted against tax include tuition, therapy, diagnostic evaluations, tutoring, transportation to school or a medical facility, and specialized instructional materials.

A child with a disability can cost parents 80% more than normal, UNICEF said in a 2022 report. It also said that poverty rates are 50% higher in households that include children with disabilities.

There are about 1.6-million children with disabilities in the Philippine, according to UNICEF.

“This demographic is often underserved and marginalized, struggling to access the appropriate education, medical care, and support systems that can make a significant difference in their lives,” Mr. Fresnedi added.

Under the measure, the Health, Education, and Social Welfare departments will be directed to create a financial assistance package for children with special needs.

The bill is currently with the House committee on ways and means.

The Special Needs Education Program under the Education department’s Program Support Budget has a total funding of P6.4 billion for next year. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz

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