Proposed tax amnesty in Cebu City ‘not fair’

DOUBTS on whether the proposed tax amnesty for delinquent taxpayers would be just and effective prompted the Cebu City Council to defer its approval on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Some city councilors expressed doubts that the proposed “Tax Amnesty Ordinance of 2019” would be an effective way of collecting unpaid business, real property and other local taxes.

For Councilor Joy Augustus Young, the proposed amnesty is “not fair.”

He cited one university that has been a delinquent taxpayer.

He said if the tax amnesty ordinance is approved, it would be unfair to the other schools that have been paying their taxes religiously.

“I think this is not fair. (If that’s the case) all other schools can also think of not paying their taxes,” said Young.

He said if the proposed ordinance is passed, all delinquent taxpayers should be monitored to see to it that they pay their tax dues.

Councilor Raymond Garcia proposed the ordinance to help taxpayers who could no longer pay their taxes due to the interest, penalties and surcharges imposed, which they find “burdensome.”

If approved, the concerned taxpayers will be able to clear their records of any delinquencies by paying a compromise penalty of 20 percent of all unpaid local taxes, fees and charges.

The ordinance also states that “all current and past years’ outstanding or unpaid basic real property taxes, basic business taxes, community taxes, and all other fees and charges, such as but not limited to interests and penalties that are due and demandable, (are) payable within a maximum of two years from the date of execution of the compromise agreement between the Cebu City Government and the concerned delinquent taxpayers.”

At least P479 million in penalties, surcharges and interest for unpaid business taxes will be waived if the City Council approves the measure.

On Friday, Dec. 6, the Council will hold a special session to tackle the ordinance. (JJL)