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Sta. Rosa city gov’t offers tax amnesty

By Efren B. Chavez
 10/31/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Santa Rosa city government will provide relief to delinquent taxpayers through a “compromise agreement,” as provided by City Resolution 186-2011, Sta. Rosa Mayor Arlene Arcillas had said.

The city resolution was approved so taxpayers “could afford to settle their taxes in an instalment scheme to be implemented after a compromise agreement has been signed between the city treasurer and the real property taxpayer.”

It covers all delinquent real properties classified as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and other classes of real properties, including improvements and machineries. It also applies to undeclared properties subject to back taxes.

Arcillas explained that the measure is necessary so taxpayers in the city will have the opportunity to retain their properties through a very flexible payment scheme.

Otherwise, she said, if the taxpayer does not avail of the measure then their delinquent properties may be put up for sale at a public auction.

The city resolution provides that if the total delinquency makes it burdensome for the taxpayer to pay in one lump sum, the city treasurer may allow payment in instalments of up to no more than 24 months depending on the total amount of delinquency.

In November 2009, the city government provided an amnesty to delinquent real property owners through City Ordinance 1624-2009.

City treasurer Laura Sy said that in the eight months that the measure was implemented the city was able to collect around P90 million in additional revenues.

In this current measure, Sy said the city expects to collect around 35 percent of the total assessed delinquency.

She added that while the “tax amnesty” in 2009 the city government waived the penalties, the current “tax relief” measure will include the penalties and interests. The “delinquent taxpayer” is only given the option to pay in monthly or quarterly installments of the total delinquency, she explained.

The measure will take effect starting Nov. 3 of this year and will end on March 31, 2012.

Meanwhile, the city government will start implementing the new schedule of rates of taxes, fees and charges as mandated by City Ordinance 1675-2011, otherwise known as Revenue Code of the City of Santa Rosa.

The new revenue code revised the 1992 Revenue Tax Code, which has not been amended nor revised for 19 years.

Arcillas explained that the general revision of the Schedule of Market Value (SMV) is consistent with the Joint Memorandum Circular 2010-01, issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Finance (DoF), enjoining all provinces, cities and the municipality of Pateros, Metro Manila to prepare the Schedule of Market Values (SMVs) of real property and to conduct the General Revision of Property Assessment in their respective jurisdiction.

She said that the general revision was a necessary consequence to Santa Rosa’s conversion into a city. She added that for 19 years business taxes and charges has not increased, and for 11 years the SMV was not revised.

She stressed that cities are allowed to make an increase of up to 50 percent pursuant to Section 151 of the Local Government Code which states that the rates of taxes that the city may levy may exceed the maximum rates allowed for the province or municipality by not more than 50 percent except on rates of professional and amusement taxes.

She added that while the city is entitled to collect the additional 0.5 percent to the basic tax, the collection is suspended for 2012 to 2013.

Also, in order for taxpayers to make adjustments, the increase in taxes as a result of the general revision will be implemented in two years — 50 percent in 2012 and another 50 percent in 2013.

Arcillas expects an increase in the city’s revenue next year. “With the expected increase in revenue, the city government will be able to give more and do more for the residents of the city in regards to services we offer, especially our social and economic services,” she said.
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