June 14, 2024

The Baguio City Council is pushing for an ordinance granting a six-month amnesty or relief on real property taxes to taxpayers who are delinquent as of May. 

The proposed amnesty will include the waiving of penalties, fines, surcharges, interests, and arrears, provided the delinquent taxes are fully paid within the prescribed period.

Approved on first reading by the city council on May 20, the proposed tax relief seeks to alleviate the financial burden on taxpayers, particularly those who are still reeling from the effects of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

By waiving penalties, fines, surcharges, interests, and arrears, the taxpayers will be provided with an opportunity to settle their tax obligations more easily.

The proposed tax relief is expected to improve the city government’s collection performance. By offering this amnesty, the city anticipates recovering a significant amount of revenue from delinquent taxpayers who have not paid on time.

Once approved, the amnesty will be available to any taxpayer, whether an individual or an entity who has not paid their taxes as of May.

It will also include properties that were included in public auctions conducted by the city government but have not yet been purchased by private persons or entities.

The amnesty will also allow property owners with pending court cases concerning the ownership of their properties to settle their tax dues regardless of the ongoing legal disputes.

Moreover, properties sold through public auctions but whose ownership has not been officially transferred due to the non-issuance of a final bill of sale by the city government can also benefit from this amnesty.

Under the proposed ordinance, no public auctions for delinquent real properties will be initiated during the amnesty period.

After the amnesty period, properties with remaining delinquencies will be auctioned to the highest bidder to satisfy the outstanding taxes and associated penalties.

Once approved, the proposed ordinance will require delinquent taxpayers to file an application for the amnesty with the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO).

The CTO will handle the preparation and processing of any compromise agreements for installment payments between taxpayers and the city mayor.

If a taxpayer defaults on an installment payment, the total unpaid balance, including all penalties, will become immediately due and enforceable by law.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the committee on appropriation and finance Cluster A (Budget, Appropriations, and Expenditure) for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling