Issue of May 13, 2018
     
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Planned adjustment of tax rate discount in MP gets flak
by Alfred Macalling

BONTOC, Mountain Province – A proposed revenue ordinance adjusting tax discount rates drew negative reactions from the taxpayers during a public hearing held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan hall last April 24.

The Tax Codification Committee and the SP are proposing to adjust the tax discount rates, particularly the advance payment of real property tax (RPT) from the existing 20 percent to five percent and removal of the existing 10 percent discount for prompt payment.

The proposed measure is in consideration of the need for the province to enhance and ensure financial stability and resiliency in its collection performance.

In questioning the proposal, former Board Member Florence N. Taguiba said it is not proper to take back what has been enjoyed by the taxpayers.

She asked the SP not to adjust the rates as it is detrimental to public interest.

Tax advocates Nenet Milan and Caroline Astudillo, municipal treasurers of Tadian and Sabangan, respectively, shared the same view.

Milan said based on experience, their RPT collections increased and the number of tax delinquents decreased when the tax discounts rates were maximized in 2005.

She said the proposed move will discourage advance and prompt payment resulting in increase in tax delinquencies.

A resident also expressed disappointment on the move and urged the SP members to think again before approving the proposal.

Aside from the tax rate discounts, the provincial government finds it necessary to update and rationalize the revenue code, especially in the adjustments of regulatory fees and charges for it to cope with the escalating costs of regulations and services provided.

Among these are the charges of provincial government facilities, especially the lot and building space rental. The committee is proposing to double the lot rental rate per square meter to provide more revenues for the discharge of basic services to the people, commensurate to the sky rocketing cost of lots in the market, and to discourage leaseholders for sale and sub-leasing.

The lessees appealed to the SP not to approve the proposal, but suggested at least not more than 10 percent increase from the current rate per square meter. They said the trend of increase in charges rate should be gradual.

Provincial Legal Officer Thomas Kiwang said even if the proposed rate per square area doubled, the rate is still very minimal as compared to the private area.

There is no proposed adjustment  for commercial building space rental, except for the area fronting the national road where there is a slight increase per square meter.

Some hospital fees and charges were also proposed for rate adjustment. 

Provincial Health Officer Penelope A. Domogo said the adjustment is aimed at upgrading hospital facilities and equipments for it to be at par with other government hospitals.

Taguiba observed that the proposed adjustment had no basis, especially on the lot rental and some regulatory fees and charges. She proposed for the SP to come up with a formula to be applied in the adjustment.

There is no adjustment in tax impositions of the provincial government, except for sand and gravel tax from P40 per cubic meter to P50, since local governments cannot adjust beyond the rate as provided by the Local Government Code of 1991. The province tax imposition is already at its maximum rate.

Provincial Treasurer Cawed A. Gamonnac, who facilitated the public hearing proceedings, said the provincial board will consider all the suggestions and recommendations in the deliberations before acting on the proposed measure.


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