Extension of grant of amnesty for delinquent real property taxpayers okayed

BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance extending the grant of amnesty or relief on penalties, fines, surcharges, interests or arrears to delinquent real property taxpayers in the city.

The ordinance authored by Councilors Faustino Olowan and Benny Bomogao stated that a general tax amnesty will be granted to taxpayers in the city who are delinquent in the payment of their real property taxes as of the end of last year.

The grant of the amnesty to real property taxpayers shall likewise include those properties which are undeclared and subject to taxes; those properties which are declared but the real property taxes have not yet been paid; those properties included in public auction conducted by the local government but have not yet been purchased by private persons or entities; property owners with pending cases in court whose ownership are in question and properties sold through public auction whose ownership has not been officially transferred due to non-issuance of final bill of sale by the local government.

The ordinance stipulated that the prescribed period or duration of the tax amnesty shall be for a period of six months and shall take effect from the approval of the measure.

Under the proposal, all fines, surcharges, interests or arrears, if any, shall be condoned only upon settlement of real property taxes if paid within the prescribed period; payments of real property taxes under the measure shall be made either in cash or instalment basis, provided, that it will be paid during the amnesty period as fixed in the measure and applied as of December 31, 2017; only after said delinquencies are settled may tax payments be credited to the current period and thereafter, no further tax amnesty shall be granted after the expiration of the existing amnesty.

The ordinance added that no public auction of real properties due to non-payment of tax delinquencies will be held and initiated by the local government  during the amnesty period and real properties with delinquent taxes attached after the expiration of the amnesty period shall be offered for sale in a public auction to the highest bidder for the sole purpose of satisfying payment of accumulated delinquent taxes with the corresponding penalties, arrearages, surcharges and interests pursuant to existing laws and ordinances.

The ordinance disclosed the application of amnesty shall be filed with the City Treasury Office on a prescribed form.

Further, the City Treasury Office shall be responsible in the preparation and processing of any compromise agreement, together with the corresponding related documents, by and between the taxpayers and the City Mayor for and in behalf of the local government and any breach in the compromise agreement on the payments under instalment basis or should any instalment not paid on its due date, the total unpaid balance of the delinquent real property taxes and the entire amount of penalties shall become automatically due and demandable and shall be enforced in accordance with law.

The ordinance underscored that taxes are the lifeblood of the government and without revenue raised from taxation, the government will hardly be able to fulfill its mandate and without taxes, the government, which is expected to respond in the form of tangible or intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people, will not be able to do so. By Dexter A. See

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