P150 million shortfall in city tax collection predicted

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The city will experience approximately P150 million shortfall in the city government’s projected tax collection for this year because of the serious negative effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, especially to the city economy which is the city’s major source of income.

City Treasurer Ales Cabarrubias stated that bulk of the predicted shortfall in locally-generated resources will come from the city’s share from the operation of locators in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) amounting to P117 million.

Further, he added the remaining balance will be from business taxes that will not be collected by the city up to the end of the year aside from the imposed penalties and surcharges that were waived by the city government up to the end of the year.

Earlier, the city government projected to have a P220 million share from the PEZA for this year but this can no longer be realized due to the implementation of health and safety measures during the various levels of community quarantine to contain the spread of the deadly virus over the past nine months that caused the economy to be on a virtual standstill.

However, Cabarrubias is keeping his fingers crossed that the projected shortfall in the city’s tax collection will be further reduced at the end of the year as city government gave taxpayers until the last day of office to settle their obligations with the city without being imposed the surcharges and penalties following the condonation made due to the heavy impact to the economy of the ongoing pandemic.

According to him, the City Treasury Office had been receiving inquiries from residents on whether or not the said office will be open until the end of the year for them to be able to settle their taxes to avail of the waived surcharges and penalties to help the citizens cope with the prevailing difficult situation caused by the health crisis.

Cabarrubias stipulated that the effect of the pandemic to the economy this year has been  enormous and its impact on tax collection will be known only next year because the taxes due to the city will be computed based on the gross receipts of the businesses this year where the sales are obviously down.

The City Treasurer disclosed that among the factors that can help mitigate the impact of the pandemic to tax collection of the city include the approved revised schedule of market values for real property taxes which will be implemented starting next year and the significant increase in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) form the national government.

He underscored that taxes are the lifeblood of the government and the people should be mindful of their obligations to the city by immediately settling the same with the benefit of waived surcharges and penalties as this will be plowed back to them in terms of the high-impact development projects and enhanced delivery of basic services.

Cabarrubias said the city government will announce later whether the City Treasury Office will open in the remaining Saturdays of the year for taxpayers to settle their obligations to the city. By Dexter A. See

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