QC ordinance exempts business, owners, operators from audit

By Alexandria San Juan

All business owners and operators in Quezon City are now exempted from audit and examination of their books of accounts from 2016 to 2018, given that they will voluntarily pay 30 percent higher than their previous year’s local business tax (LBT) payment.

Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte. (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN) Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte. (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN)

Through City Ordinance No. SP-2780, those who have LBT payable in 2019 that are at least 30 percent more than the previous year are exempted from inspection and examination of their books of accounts and other pertinent documents" covering calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The ordinance approved by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista last month is expected to encourage taxpayers to declare more taxable gross receipts, and at the same time to simplify the procedures in the payment of business taxes.

The 30 percent increase in LBT collection under the amnesty program is also seen to cover the revenue loss because of the suspension of the real property tax hike.

It will also "make things easy, trouble-free, uncomplicated and simplify the procedure involved in payment of business taxes and contribute to speedy, prompt facilitation of business permits and licenses renewal in line with the City's commitments towards ease of doing business."

However, the city cautioned that businesses with pending cases on their financial statements and records could not apply for the said exemption.

For Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who led the City council in pushing for the ordinance, she said it will make the City a "premiere business haven for investors" because they are given an option whether they want their books of accounts to be reviewed or not.

"If they don’t want, they can just pay additional 30 percent, and they will be exempted from further auditing,” Belmonte said.

“Their tax will depend on how much income they have earned. It can be bigger or smaller than the 30 percent of their previous LBT. That’s why we are giving them an option if they want their income for a certain year to be waived. It’s all up to them,” she explained.

Belmonte has also clarified that no tax increase has been implemented, contrary to some claims that the said ordinance directs a mandatory 30 percent increase to all business tax payers.

“This is voluntary—we are just giving them a choice whether they want to be audited or not. We haven’t implemented any tax increase, in fact, the city has given amnesties for real property tax delinquencies; the real property tax hike had been suspended; and recently, we just provided an option for audit exemption. This shows that Quezon City is a tax-payer-friendly city,” the vice mayor pointed out.