City to Hold Mass Consultation on Tax Increase
VOL. XVIII NO. 3 (October 25-31, 2014)
BAGUIO CITY – A mass consultation on the proposed tax increase will be held in the city soon to explain to and get the sentiment of the various sectors on the proposed adjustments in the business and real property taxes.
The city council on Monday decided to do away with the pocket public hearings currently being conducted by the city council committee on ways and means cluster B headed by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog and instead conduct a single but all-encompassing public hearing to save time and resources.
Bilog said the hearings were mostly on personal invitation to him but some councilors and city treasurer Alicia Onoza and city assessor Nilda Navarro were able to join him as resource persons. He said they have so far covered 20 barangays and a number of associations and plan to continue with the consultation by sector until the first part of 2015.
But the aldermen led by Councilors Richard Carino, Elaine Sembrano and Betty Lourdes Tabanda and including cluster B committee members Councilors Peter Fianza and Faustino Olowan opted for a common hearing to also ensure that complete facts will be presented to avoid confusion and misconceptions especially since the updated schedule of fair market values of real properties cannot be presented yet as it is still being reviewed by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).
They tasked Bilog’s committee to set the date for the mass hearing.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan expressed hopes for a speedy consultation to according to him “strike an agreement on what is reasonable to both the city and the taxpayers.”
The city, he said, is now obliged to implement the increase after years of stalling to make the antiquated rates attuned with the times and with the requirements of the law.
The city is eyeing a 10 percent increase in business taxes under Tax Ordinance No. 2000-01 including city market rental and fees and garbage charges which were last adjusted in 2001 or 13 years ago.
The mayor said the rates are now outdated and must be revised to keep up with the prevailing charges now being levied by nearby cities like Urdaneta and Dagupan in Pangasinan and San Fernando City in La Union which impose business taxes higher by as much as 500 percent than the city.
For instance the city charges P15 for certifications and clearances while other areas collect as much as P100. For stall rentals at the fish section, the city charges P20 a month but other cities collect P78 a day.
The city also needs to update its schedule of fair market values of real properties which remained unchanged since 1996 making the city non-compliant with the New Local Government Code or the Republic Act No. 7160 provision mandating local government units to undertake a general revision of real property tax valuation every three years.
It was assured that a minimal assessment level will be recommended to temper the expected huge increase in the market value as a result of the city’s passing up on several revision terms since 1996.
At present, the city’s assessment levels are pegged at 12 percent for residential and 35 percent for commercial properties./By: A Refuerzo