Real property tax amnesty proposed

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting amnesty or relief on penalties, fines, surcharges, interests, or arrears to delinquent real property taxpayers in the city.

City legislators stated that those who are covered by the ordinance once passed include the taxpayers in the city who are delinquent in the payment of their taxes as of December 31, 2020; 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 by the city but have not yet been purchased by private persons or entities; property owners with pending cases in court whose cases are in question and properties sold  through public auction whose ownership has not yet been officially transferred due to non-issuance of final bill of sale by the local government.

However, the council clarified that the proposed amnesty shall only consist of the waiver by the city from collecting penalties, fines, surcharges and interests and that arrears on basic real property taxes which are due shall still have to be paid.

Under the proposed ordinance, the prescribed period for the proposed tax amnesty or relief shall be for 6 months and shall take effect 3 days from the publication of the approved ordinance in a local newspaper of general circulation.

The council stipulated that all penalties, fines, surcharges, and interests, if any, shall be condoned only upon settlement of real proper taxes within the prescribed period.

According to the council, payments of real property taxes under the proposed measure shall be made in cash or installment basis provided that the same will be settled during the prescribed amnesty period.

The council tasked the City Treasury Office to 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 city.

Consequently, the council explained that any breach in the compromise agreement on the payment under the installment basis or should any installment be 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 endorsed pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.

The council asserted the grant of tax amnesty or relief from delinquent real prophet taxes is appropriate at this time to alleviate financial expenditures of the citizens aside from the fact that the city recognizes the plight of the people who have suffered from several disasters and the health crisis that continues to bring health and economic damage to the populace.

Section 192 of Republic Act (RA) 7160, or the Local Government Code, as amended, provides that local government units may, through ordinances duly approved, grant tax exemptions, incentives or reliefs under such terms and conditions as they deem necessary.

The proposal was referred to the appropriate committee for study and recommendation whether or not the same will be passed on second and third readings. By Dexter A. See