Bizmen urge City: Honor tax rebate offer-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
THE Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) and the Bacolod Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (BFCCCI) urged the Bacolod City officials on Wednesday to honor their previous offer of a tax relief or rebate.
The business sector will exhaust all means to end this with a compromise agreement as they said they don't want a repeat of this extremely high tax rates next year.
The business sector does not want to be beaten again with the imposition of the revised Revenue Code that caused the closure of some establishments and discouraged the entrepreneurial spirit of the local businessmen.
Lawyer Ben Ortega, BFCCCI president, said the City should also understand the contribution of the business sector in the economic growth of Bacolod, including the employment generation that helped pump prime the local economy.
He said with these new and high tax rates, it will not be good for the business sector if this will continue.
He said the city for 18 years has not increased the taxes but then it managed to achieve a lot of awards.
But now, with the revised Revenue Code being implemented, it is whipping the businesses so badly.
The businessmen hope that it won't go any farther because they also have a pull on their employees and, more so, the city officials need to slow down considering that election period is already approaching.
Ortega said that according to some people, they will mark the officials who supported this code and, when election day comes, they will judge them according to what they did to the business sector.
"It is not my sentiment. But other businessmen thought of this because the new code has badly hurt their businesses," he said.
MBCCI president Frank Carbon, on the other hand, said that during their meeting last August 22, the City injected an amendment that Bacolod will reduce the tax rate but there is no more tax rebate for 2012.
The rebate will take effect in 2013. This surprised the business sector representatives because the authority given to them by their members was to push for a tax rebate.
"We moved back and again consult our members. That is a major issue left undecided but the rest was minor," said Carbon.
He said if the business sector and the city can agree on the tax rates, they will be given rebate and the effectivity will retroact to January 2012. But in the last meeting, there was no rebate anymore.
Carbon said they have to consult again because the business sector is composed of many sectors like hospitals, hotels, banks, and retailers, among others. They also meet and compute what is advantageous - a rebate or no rebate.
Carbon’s personal view on the no rebate will hit much the retailer because the reduction is big on their part from 1.5 to .5 or 50 percent. All the rest is minor.
The wholesaler and retailer were given a reduction from 50 percent to 40 percent, he said, but stressed he cannot decide for them because it is their business.
Businessmen don't like conflict. They want to focus on their business, he said, adding that can only happen if the offer of the city for a rebate will not be honored by them in the next negotiation.
He said they need to solve it this year or else there will have a repeat of payment of excessive tax rates.
"The business sector is willing to agree on the middle or reach a compromise agreement on this matter. Businessmen can give a little and take a little. Win some or lose some, as long as their business continues. If it is possible that they can agree on rebates, the better," Carbon said.
Regarding their case with the Department of Justice (DOJ) which was dismissed earlier, Carbon said they will contest the recent decision made by the DOJ hearing officer Abante stating that they have dismissed their appeal because the complainant violated the non-forum shopping policy.
"But our lawyers said that we have not violated non-forum shopping. If they were referring on the case of non-forum shopping, that is entirely separate from us. We have not joined the case filed by Rolling Hills as represented by Monico Puentevella. Our lawyers believe that it can only be considered forum shopping when the MBCCI and BFCCCI appealed to the DOJ and at the same time filed the case in the local court,” he said.
The businessmen, he added, were not a party to the case filed by Puentevella.
"We will contest the decision made by the hearing officer of the DOJ before the Secretary of Justice. If we are not satisfied with the decision of the DOJ Secretary, we could always go to the Office of the President. This is the administrative remedy available to us," he said.
While they will pursue the case with the DOJ, they will continue the negotiation with the city officials with the aim to reach a win-win decision.
"We don't have to wait the decision of the DOJ or in the regular court. This might be the shorter route to reach a solution," said Carbon.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 13, 2012.