April 2, 2023

No agreement has been reached between the city government and the business sector on the latter’s proposal to adjust real property taxes on business establishments.
The city’s business sector has proposed a 300 percent across the board increase while the city government proposed to retain the rates but payment may be made on three installments.
The lowest RPT are those near the city boundary in Tuba and at areas where there are unpaved roads.
City Assessor Almaya Addawe said the Local Finance Committee has disagreed with the proposition and maintained that assessment should still be based on the location, fair market value, area classification, among other criteria.
She said the LFC is more inclined on giving tax incentives to business establishments that have open spaces, those with sound environmental practices, and those with areas planted with trees.
She said the city government will hire a consultant who can assess how much credits a business establishment can have for maintaining green zones.
If the business sector will agree to the LFC’s proposition, the incentive scheme will be implemented upon approval of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which is currently being updated by the City Planning and Development Office.
The CLUP is updated every 10 years. The current CLUP covers 2013 to 2023.
The business sector previously requested for the city government to review the new fair market value being assessed on real properties saying the fees are exorbitant and unreasonable especially at this time when businesses are down because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Addawe said they recognize the plight of businessmen but implementation of higher real property taxes during the pandemic was only incidental.
“We understand the complaints (from the business sector) but none of us knew that there will be a pandemic,” Addawe said.
Like the business sector, the city government is also hoping for the economy to bounce back in order for businesses to also recover from the economic slump as a result of lockdowns worldwide.
The city council earlier asked the LFC to review the schedule of fair market values and study the possibility of granting incentives to real estate owners with open spaces and areas planted with trees.
The increase in real property taxes was implemented on a staggered basis, starting from the 70 percent collection in 2020. Full collection was implemented in 2021. – Rimaliza A. Opiña