THE general revision of real property tax valuation to upgrade the schedule of fair market values of real properties in the city is now underway, Baguio City Assessor Augustus Medina said.

Medina reported to Mayor Mauricio Domogan last Monday that his office is now in the thick of preparing the new schedule of market values targeted for completion in August.

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Once completed, the proposed schedule will be submitted to the City Council for approval and once cleared at said level, will be targeted for implementation next year.

Medina said the extent of the increase in realty tax could not be determined as yet but he offered a prediction that the rise in the market values would be more than the 1996 levels because of the length of time that the city did not implement the mandated adjustments.

He said the city assessor's office is mandated to undertake a general tax revision of real properties every three years as per provisions of the New Local Government Code or the Republic Act 7160 and if religiously followed, then the city should have implemented the revisions for five times now since 1996.

However, the city was not able to implement one due to humanitarian considerations.

He said the last increase was implemented in 1996 and this was met by protests from taxpayers prompting the City Government to instead impose the increase on a staggered basis spread out from 1997 to 1999.

In 2001, the City Government adopted Tax Ordinance 2000-01, which imposed lower assessment levels for real properties that eventually appeased the taxpayers.

He said that they expect that the new schedule will again face rough sailing at the City Council and upon implementation but he said they cannot do otherwise but follow the provisions of the law on general revision.

Domogan earlier tasked the city assessor to update anew the proposal on the General Tax Revision of Real Properties long pending before the City Council and to resubmit it for approval noting the need for the city to upgrade the long-outdated schedule values.

The upgrading of real property taxes along with other outdated schedule of fees as contained in Tax Ordinance No. 2000-01 is one of the plans named by the mayor in his inaugural speech as his priority programs.

He said it is high time to implement these tax reforms to further improve the revenue standing of the city and fund priority development projects in the pipeline. (Aileen Refuerzo)