Cebu City Council to tackle tax amnesty on Friday
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council will tackle the long-awaited tax amnesty to allow delinquent taxpayers of real property taxes (RPT) and business taxes to pay only 10 percent or 20 percent of their total penalty on Friday, August 14, 2020.
The council has repeatedly deferred the ordinance since December 2019 due to concerns on the implementation since many councilors believe that the amnesty will not be fair for the establishments religiously paying their taxes.
Councilor Raymond Garcia, the proponent of the ordinance said that the tax amnesty is a form of help to the deliquent tax payers because the tax amnesty will encourage them to pay their taxes instead of avoiding paying due to high penalties.
Garcia said there is a necessity to pass the ordinance now because the business sector is suffering through the pandemic and the tax collection has been low reaching only P742 million in real property taxes (RPT) in the first two quarters of the year and around P1.9 billion in business taxes as of Aug. 7, 2020.
This is still lower compared to last to their collection last year which has reached P1 billion for the first two quarters alone.
However, Councilor Franklyn Ong, said the amnesty may easily be abused by the delinquent taxpayers and he requested that the ordinance should have a penalty clause for that matter.
He also urged Garcia to only provide amnesty to RPTs and do not include business taxes.
Councilor Nestor Archival is worried that with the amnesty, the city’s tax collection will fall even shorter than its target of P9 billion this year.
He said the city may be losing more revenues instead.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama said that the ordinance should be equitable and allow the establishments to pay what they ought to pay based on their capability to pay.
This was echoed by Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., who said that the amnesty is pro-rich because only the bigger establishments will benefit from it while the struggling establishments will still be buried in debt even with the 10 percent amnesty.
“Let us just scrap all the tax penalty, Mr. Chair, so that even the poor can afford to pay their taxes,” said Gabuya.
Rama has decided that a special session will be held on Friday to discuss and decide on the changes in the tax amnesty.
He said that the amnesty will be passed since all councilors are generally in favor of it, but there needs to changes on the ordinance for it to be equitable to all constituents. /bmjo
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