A SENATOR has called out the tax agency for failing to issue guidelines on a more than 10-year-old law that grants tax incentives to lawyers who provide pro bono service to poor clients.
Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid, in a letter to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) dated July 11, requested the prioritization of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act 9999 or the Free Legal Assistance Act of 2010.
“(T)he law is still unimplemented, primarily because the Bureau of Internal Revenue has yet to promulgate the necessary Implementing Rules and Regulations,” Mr. Lapid said in a statement on Monday.
“The law provides that it should have been issued 90 days from the date of its effectivity,” he added.
The law seeks to encourage lawyers and professional firms to render free legal services to the poor to help decongest the workload in the Public Attorney’s Office. It also aims to ensure that those financially incapable can still avail of and choose a competent and independent counsel.
It grants incentives to lawyers and legal firms in the form of an allowable tax deduction of up to 10% of their gross income based on actual free legal services rendered. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan