Cebu City grants real property, biz tax amnesty

DELINQUENT business and real property owners in Cebu City can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Cebu City Council has passed a measure granting them tax amnesty.

The Council approved on Aug. 14, 2020 the tax amnesty ordinance authored by Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, eight months since it was first introduced before the Council.

In availing of the amnesty, taxpayers have two options: pay the principal amount of their tax dues in full before Dec. 15 without penalties, or pay in staggered amounts within one year and pay only 10 percent of total penalties.

“If the taxpayer will avail of the one-year installment basis, then he has to pay a down payment of 25 percent. He must enter into a promissory note with the City of Cebu as to his balance and pay the 10 percent (penalty) good for one year with 12 monthly installments,” Garcia explained.

If the taxpayer fails to pay the installment even just for a month, the amnesty will be forfeited and the taxpayer will have to pay his original delinquency.

Garcia introduced the ordinance in 2019, but it was deferred a number of times. He reintroduced the measure in July 2020 to help taxpayers get through the Covid-19 crisis.

Based on data from the City Treasurer's Office, more than 1,000 business establishments that owe the City around P679 million in tax penalties and surcharges since 2014 will benefit from the amnesty.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said the amnesty would greatly benefit businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

"This is a timely ordinance. It will really help micro, small and medium enterprises in realigning their much needed cash flow for payroll and inventory purchases," he said.

Recent news of about a hundred local businesses closing in Cebu City because of growing rental fees hounded the business community as it continues to struggle under the new normal. (JJL/JOB)


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