Grant of amnesty for Baguio delinquent taxpayers backed

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The City Treasury Office supports the proposed grant of amnesty to delinquent real property taxpayers to help the local government to be able to generate the needed taxes that will operationalize its approved P2.3 billion annual budget for 2022.

However, City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias warned delinquent taxpayers that the local government will be compelled to auction their properties once they continue to refuse paying the taxes due to the city to serve as a lesson for them and send the message that the city means business in collecting the taxes due.

He stated that the local government had not opted to auction the real properties of delinquent taxpayers because of the serious negative impact of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to the economic activities of the people that had resulted to loss of jobs and sources of livelihood over the past 21 months.

Earlier, the local legislative body proposed the grant of amnesty to delinquent real property taxpayers in the city to allow them to be able to settle their obligations with the local government without being compelled too pay penalties and surcharges.

The city treasurer explained that the grant of amnesty to delinquent real property taxpayers might be appropriate at this time but it should not be done regularly to ensure that real property owners will be compelled to religiously pay their taxes due to the local government during the prescribed period of the year. According to him, the grant of amnesty to delinquent real property taxpayers should be for a limited period of time so as not to send a wrong signal to those real property owners not to settle their taxes and simply await for another amnesty to be able to be freed from their obligation to pay penalties and surcharges for their unsettled taxes.

Cabarrubias expressed hope that the implementation of the revised schedule of market values for land in the city that will be fully implemented in 2022 will help in generating adequate resources for the local government to sustain the enhanced delivery of basic health care services and the implementation of development projects that will contribute in improving the current state of the city’s economy.

In 2021, 70 percent of the approved increase in the schedule of market values for land in the city had already been levied on real property taxpayers while the remaining 30 percent will be implemented in 2022 to serve as part of the source of the funds that will help in operationalizing the local government’s annual budget amounting to P2.3 billion.

Baguio City is one of the highly urbanized cities in the country that does not only relay on its internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government but also generates substantial income from the local taxes, fees and charges being levied on the various services being provided by the different offices to ensure that it will be able to support the programs, projects and activities that form part of the annual budget.

From the P1.9 billion annual budget of the local government in 2021, the same was increased to P2.3 billion for 2022 where bulk of the sources of funds will be from the Ira and internally generated funds courtesy of taxes, fees and charges. By Dexter A. See

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