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House approves President Duterte’s third tax reform package
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House approves President Duterte’s third tax reform package

September 12 ------ The House Committee on Ways and Means unanimously approved Wednesday a substitute bill seeking to institute reforms in real property valuation and assessment in the country. The House panel, chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda passed the proposed Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, which is a consolidation of 12 bills. The still unnumbered substitute measure is the third package of President Duterte’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Package (CTRP). It was Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, vice-chairperson of the panel, who moved for the approval of President Duterte’s priority measure.

Galing sa Puso partylist Rep. Jose Gay Padiernos, vice-chairperson of the House Committee on Government Reorganisation, strongly urged his colleagues to approve the bill, which he said, would result in P30.5 billion in incremental revenues for the local governments. The measure seeks to improve the real property valuation for the government by adopting a market-based schedule market valuation (SMV) to be used as basis of local and national real property taxation, he said.

It also seeks to reorganize and strengthen the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and establish a Real Property Valuation Service within the BLGF, he added. “With the proposed reforms, it is envisioned that the local government units may gain as much P30.5 billion additional revenues and it will also address long-standing issues in the valuation for the right of way acquisition that will save millions for the national government by preventing cost overruns due to delayed public works completion,” Padiernos said.

“The intended reform will broaden the tax base or local and national property and property-related taxes and expedite valuation-based government activities such as right of way, acquisition, and administration of land transfer taxes. This will neither impose new taxes nor increase current taxes for the LGUs. It shall continue to set a just and regulate tax rates and assessment levels,” he explained. He noted that the measure was approved on third and final reading during the previous 15th, 16th, and 17th Congresses.

During the hearing, Salceda noted that of the expected P30.5 billion in incremental revenues, P23 billion of which will go to the cities and P7.4 billion to the provinces. He said the valuation reforms of the proposal would increase the collection from the real property tax from the current P70 billion to P103 billion. “This has a good effect in terms of inducing public and private investments. It can induce P150 billion in incremental public investment and you get your growth from there, it is about .31 percent for the next five years on the average,” Salceda noted.

The measure seeks to promote the development and maintenance of a just, equitable, impartial and nationally consistent real property valuation based on internationally accepted valuation standards, concepts, principles, and practices. The bill tasks the BLGF of the Department of Finance (DOF) to lead and manage the implementation of the proposed Act. Under the proposed Act, the BLGF is tasked to develop, adopt, maintain and implement uniform valuation standards which shall be used by all appraisers and assessors in the local government units and other concerned parties in the appraisal or valuation of lands, building, machinery, and other real properties for taxation and other purposes.

The valuation standards shall conform with the internationally accepted valuation standards and principles, it said. An assessor who, for unjustifiable reasons, fails to comply with the valuation standards shall be punished by a fine equivalent to official’s or employee’s six months basic salary or suspension from the service for a period not exceeding one year, or both, at the discretion of the competent authority, the bill said.