BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance granting a one-time six-month tax amnesty or tax relief to give chance to all real property taxpayers with penalties, fines, surcharges, interests or arrears to pay their real property tax dues which have become long overdue and providing for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog and Councilors Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. Peter Fianza and Elmer Datuin stated the real property tax amnesty shall be applicable to delinquent taxpayers as of December 31, 2015, and it shall 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 auctions conducted by the local government but have not yet been purchased by private persons or entities; property owners with pending cases in the court whose ownership are in question and properties sold through public auctions whose ownership has not been officially transferred due to non-issuance of final deed of sale by the local government.
The ordinance added the prescribed period for the real property tax amnesty or tax relief shall be for a period of six months and shall take effect 30 days from its approval and publication.
Under the ordinance, 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 tax under the ordinance shall be made either in cash or instalment basis, provided that, it will be paid during the amnesty period as fixed and applied as of December 31, 2013; only after the said delinquencies are settled may tax payments be credited to the current period and no further tax amnesty shall be granted after the expiration of the 6-month tax amnesty period.
The ordinance revealed 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 while real properties with delinquent taxes attached after the expiration of the amnesty period shall be offered for sale at public auction to the highest bidder for the sole purpose of satisfying payment of accumulated delinquencies with the corresponding penalties, arrearages, surcharges and interests pursuant to existing laws or ordinances.
It added the application for amnesty under the ordinance shall be filed with the City Treasury Office on a prescribed form to be issued by the same office while the CTO shall also be in charge of 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 on behalf of the local government.
The ordinance stated any breach of the compromise agreement and the payments under instalment basis or should any instalment not paid on its due date, the total unpaid balance of the delinquent rel property taxes and the entire amount of penalties shall become automatically due and demandable and shall be enforced in accordance with law.
The proponents admitted taxes are the lifeblood of the government and without revenue raised from taxation, the government will hardly be able to fulfil its mandate and will be paralyzed for lack of motive power to activate and operate it.
By Dexter A. See