BAGUIO CITY – The City Council passed a resolution requesting the Cordillera office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR-CAR) to strengthen or intensify their information dissemination regarding the tax obligations of business owners and barangay officials to remind and protect business owners and barangay officials from being imposed possible fines and penalties due to alleged violations.
Despite the appearance of BIR-CAR regional director Atty. Antonio Jonathan G. Jaminola during the regular session of the local legislative body who clarified that their office had been religious in conducting information and education campaign regarding the latest tax regulations issued by the Commission, the aforesaid resolution was still passed after concerned barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials raised an uproar over the collection of P500 registration fee and P1,000 penalty for the delayed filing of registration including surcharges of their declared Statement of Campaign Contributions and Expenditures.
The local legislative body urged the BIR-CAR to reconsider the decision of imposing the registration fee and surcharges and fines to the SK kagawads considering that they do not actually receive any compensation from the government as provided under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10742 or the New SK Reform Act, thus, their services are considered to be voluntary.
In the case of punong barangays and barangay kagawads, local legislators appealed to the BIR-CAR to grant an extension for them to pay their registration aside from condoning the imposed surcharges and penalties as they were not aware of the latest regulation from the BIR that they are required to pay the registration fee of P500 and 20 percent of their declared election expenses during the May 14, 2018 synchronized barangay and SK elections.
Jaminola informed local legislators that the BIR-CAR is simply implementing the provisions of the law and the regional office can only reduce the penalty imposed on the unpaid registration fee as condonation of penalty is lodged only with the Commissioner.
Earlier, BIR-CAR sent communication letters to all winning and losing barangay and SK candidates during the May 14, 2018 barangay and SK elections reminding them of their obligation to settle their P500 registration fee, the P1,000 penalty and the 20 percent surcharge on their declared election expenses with the agency to prevent them from being charged that could result to their eventual disqualification from holding public office once they refuse to do so that could deprive their constituents their service.
The local legislative body stipulated that the BIR-CAR must look into its information and education campaign strategies to be able to reach a good number of stakeholders in their area of jurisdiction to prevent similar confusion.
By Dexter A. See