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Quezon City gov’t readies new tax for owners of land

Posted on October 04, 2011 10:38:22 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

OWNERS OF LAND in Quezon City are facing a new tax, from which the local government aims to draw funds to provide qualified squatters houses “that are decent, safe and affordable.”

Quezon City Councilor Edcel B. Lagman (4th District), who authored the local bill concerned, said in a telephone interview yesterday that the 26-member city council “unanimously approved” it on second reading last Monday.

A copy of the bill, to be called the “Socialized Housing Tax of Quezon City” when it hurdles third and final reading and is signed into law by Mayor Herbert Constantine M. Bautista, will slap “a special assessment equivalent to 0.05% of the assessed value of land in excess of P100,000.”

Mr. Lagman said in a statement sent to media that he expects the new tax to yield “at least P185 million per year.”

Such funds will be used for land purchasing, land banking, land development, improvement of existing socialized housing facilities, as well as construction of medium-rise buildings and similar structures.

New survey

The same measure provides that the city assessor, in coordination with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, will conduct a re-inventory of all lands and improvements in the city within a 180-day period.

That survey will cover residential lands, government-owned lands, as well as unregistered or abandoned and idle lands.

The bill also said it will “take effect after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.”

Mr. Lagman said the bill is “expected to be approved next week” and “would be good to go in two weeks’ time.”

Admitting that the measure encountered opposition from homeowners in three public hearings, Mr. Lagman said the city council cut the life span of the ordinance to five years from the original 10 and raised the tax-exempt assessment threshold to P100,000 from P50,000.

He said the council was “sensitive enough to the clamor to make the imposition as bearable as possible” and “so as not to burden small property owners.”

Mr. Lagman said the new tax should be “a minimal burden,” explaining that the owner of a 300-square-meter residential lot, for instance, would pay only P700 socialized housing tax per annum.

A statement on the city’s Web site quoted Mayor Bautista as saying it would enable the city “to implement a genuine and comprehensive housing program for the city’s poor.” -- A. S. O. Alegado

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