The Permits and Licensing Division of Bacolod City collected P247 million in business taxes from January 1 to March 31, 2012, which is more than double their collection last year, its head Vicente Petierre III said yesterday.
He said they have collected only P116 million in the same period in 2011.
Petierre said collection this year is expected to increase on a monthly basis since most of the payments they have received were only for the first quarter. “So, when payments for the second, third and fourth quarters come in, for sure, our tax collection will increase some more,” he said.
Another factor is that there are some taxpayers who have not yet paid their taxes because they are still waiting for the decision of the Department of Justice regarding the appeal filed by businessmen questioning the constitutionality and legality of the Revenue Code of Bacolod City, Petierre said.
Unfortunately, the 60-day period for the DOJ to resolve the issue of constitutionality and legality already expired on March 31, he said.
So what will happen is that since there was no resolution, and as the city’s One-Stop-Shop has expired, they will be imposing 25 percent surcharges for all business establishments doing business in Bacolod City who have not secured or renewed their business permits, he added.
Petierre said about 8 percent of the taxpayers, or 700 to 800, have not yet paid their taxes.
He said that after the Holy Week, their more than 20 field inspectors, will go out to check on all business establishments in the city. “We want to be fair, particularly to business establishments who have secured their business permits,” he added.
Those who failed to secure or renew their business permits will be given a certain period of time, as mandated by the ordinance, to come to his office to secure their business permit, Petierre said.
Otherwise, the city will either seek legal remedies to collect its claim by way of taxes against the business establishments, or in cases which requires extreme measures, it can have the establishment ordered closed for non-payment of business permit, after the owners are given due process, he said.
Petierre, however, said that, as much as possible, they do not want that to happen because, “We are a business-friendly city, we encourage investments, and we make sure that business will prosper and flourish in Bacolod, but at the same time we want to make sure that laws and regulations are complied with.”
That is the only way for the city to collect taxes since this is the lifeblood of any local government, he said. At the same time they also have to pay the salaries of the government employees for the city government to continue running and effectively providing services like medical, social services and infrastructures to the people of Bacolod, Petierre added.*CGS.