San Juan City's uncollected real estate tax hits P233-M

Published July 30, 2021, 4:19 PM

by Ben Rosario

Tax payment deliquency has cost San Juan City over P233 million in uncollected real estate taxes thus depriving the city government much needed funds to finance its various programs, projects and activities.

The Commission on Audit (COA) also lamented that the city has incurred foregone realty tax revenues when it failed to subject 1,712 real property units (RPU) to the general revision of real property assessment as provided under City Ordinance No. 46, series of 2017.

These audit observations are contained in the 2020 Annual Audit Report that was released recently. Copy of the report was sent to San Juan Mayor Francisco Javier Zamora.

Aside from the tax collection issues raised in the report, auditors revealed that some P148.18 million in obligations were not supported with complete documentation, thus, undermining the “fairness of presentation of the balance of the Accounts Payable account”.

COA also noted that the City Assessors Office has not been conducting regular tax mapping of real property units as mandated by Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

“The City Treasury Department (CTD) did not avail the administrative and judicial remedies provided under Section 2A.49 of the City Revenue Code in the collection of delinquent real property taxes in the total amount of P233.835 million as of the year-end, thus resulting in accumulation of uncollected taxes,” the state audit agency disclosed.

Audit examiners said as a result, the city government has been deprived of “much needed funds vital in financing the implementation of its programs, projects and activities.

Auditors noted that despite the huge amount of unpaid taxes the CTD “did not avail of the legal remedies” provided under RA 7160.

COA asked Zamora to require the city treasurer to immediately issue notices of delinquency and consult with the city legal officer to determine measures to enforce collection.

The audit agency also reported that total 636 machinery units and 1,076 building structure have not been subjected to revised real property assessment, thus, resulting in “foregone realty revenue of undetermined amount in CYs 2019 and 2020.”