THE Bacolod City Council approved on first reading the proposed ordinance granting tax relief to delinquent real property taxpayers in the city through the condonation of penalties, interest and surcharges imposed and providing mechanisms for its proper implementation.
The proposed ordinance was authored by Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairperson of the City Council committee on laws, ordinances and good government.
Ramos said the advent of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic caused the general slowdown of economic activities in the City of Bacolod, affecting businesses and the city’s constituents, most particularly during the of community quarantine.
He said Republic Act 11469 of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act mandates, among others, local government units (LGU) to craft measures to mitigate the contagion of the Covid-19, mobilize assistance to persons affected by the disease and undertake the program for recovery and rehabilitation through provision of social amelioration and safety nets to all affected sectors.
Ramos noted that the Local Government Code provides for LGUs to establish measures to condone penalties and surcharges or real property taxes during times of emergency or calamity, within which Covid-19 can be considered as such.
“Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the city expects some degree of shortfall in its tax collection, which may be compensated by encouraging taxpayers to pay their property taxes without the additional burden of penalties and surcharge,” Ramos said.
He said the city can ease the burden of its constituents and taxpayers via tax relief on delinquent real property taxes through the condonation of penalties, interest and surcharges imposed therein.
Section 3 of the proposed ordinance states that this shall cover residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and other classes of real properties including improvement and machinery thereon, unless, otherwise exempted by existing laws of the Republic of the Philippines.
The collection of penalties, interest and surcharges on delinquent real property taxes is hereby condoned canceled and/or waived by the city, subject to the following terms and conditions: the delinquent taxpayer who shall pay in full from September 30, 2020, or earlier, to December 31, 2020, shall enjoy 100 percent condonation on all penalties, interest, surcharges on delinquent real property tax; those who will pay in full from January 1, 2021, shall enjoy 50 percent condonation on penalties, surcharges on delinquent real property tax; and if the unpaid taxes accumulate to a considerable amount, which shall make it difficult for taxpayers to pay in one lump sum, the City Treasurer is authorized to allow the liquidation of the total unpaid taxes in installment, provided that 50 percent of the total amount shall be remitted to the treasurer concerned.
The non-payment on the day indicated in the Compromise Agreement will automatically make the taxpayers in default, the proposed ordinance further stated.