By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government slammed its critics for spreading fake news that it would impose a 500 percent increase in real property taxes and property taxes on churches and informal settler families.
With the misinformation being circulated, Sherry Gonzalvo Acting Quezon City Assessor explained the Quezon City Council has implemented Ordinance No. 2778 suspending the implementation of the increase in fair market values which was supposed to be implemented under Ordinance No. 2556 in 2016.
“Definitely, there will not be an increase of 500 percent in the real property taxes,” said Gonzalvo.
She warned the public to be wary of such false information circulating that a hefty increase in real property taxes (RPT) is set to be implemented.
Although there is a clear need to update Quezon City’s fair market values, Gonzalvo conceded the city council made the proper decision to suspend the implementation due to the rising prices of commodities.
Gonzalvo noted, “we are mandated every three years to revise our values under the Local Government Code.”
She added her office had received a memorandum from the Commission on Audit (COA) instructing them to “revise our fair market values since they have not been updated in 21 years.”
“There’s also a DILG-DOF (Department of the Interior and Local Government-Department of Finance) joint memorandum calling all local government units to revise their values,” she explained.
But Gonzalvo agreed with the move of the city council “because we were hit by consecutive increases in prices of goods following TRAIN law’’.
“We should not be implementing this right now,” Gonzalvo said.
Gonzalvo also refuted reports circulating that a real property tax will be imposed on churches and informal settlers.
“They say the churches will be taxed. Definitely, churches are not taxable because they are exempt under the Local Government Code,” Gonzalvo asserted.
“Definitely, there is also no tax on informal settlers. Hindi po apektado ang informal settlers sa mga tax natin. Unang una, wala po silang binabayarang tax dahil wala naman po silang property o bahay na nakadeklara sa kanila so paano po sila magbabayad ng tax (The informal settlers are not affected by our tax schemes. First of all they don’t pay any tax since they do not own properties or houses that are declared. So are they going to pay taxes?” she added.
Gonzalvo also reacted to promises to discount real property taxes by as much as 70 percent.
“You cannot give a 70 percent discount. Again, under the Local Government Code, the maximum discount that can be given is 20 percent, except if there is a calamity. There has not been a calamity so far in Quezon City, so it is against the law to give a 70-percent discount,” Gonzalvo clarified.
Even if the updated fair market values were to take effect, Gonzalvo also reminded Quezon City taxpayers that the RPT increase would only be marginal, clarifying that an increase in fair market values would not jack up the actual tax to be paid.
“The fair market value is only one of the factors used to arrive at the assessed value. You don’t pay based on the fair market value. You pay after the application of the assessment level and the tax rate,” Gonzalvo explained.
“Since we reduced the assessment level from 18 percent to as low as 5 percent, the increase in RPT would only be like paying for additional monthly load for your cellphone with the updated FMV’s,” she added.