The Substitute Bill granting tax relief in times of calamities has been approved during the second Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting of the House Committee on Social Services.
House Bills 2452, 1496, 3274, 4262 and 4373 entitled “An Act Providing for Tax Relief During Times of Calamity and for other Purposes”, are authored by Thrid District Rep. Arthur Yap, Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon, Rep. Angelina Tan, Rep. Harry Roque Jr., Rep. Evelina Escudero, and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Yap, who chairs the TWG, said his proposal aims to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of calamities by granting them a reasonable relief from their tax liabilities on their real properties affected by the calamity within a specified period of time to accelerate their pace of economic recovery.
“It is commendable that several Representatives have proposed the measures contained in their respective House Bills, in order to afford an institutionalized humanitarian response for alleviating the adverse impacts of large-scale disasters on taxpayers-victims,” according to Dean Ronald U. Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government.
Yap said that while the government depends upon taxation to serve the people for whose benefit taxes are collected, it must also be sensitive to the needs of victims of natural calamities and assist in the alleviation of their serious economic dislocations.
The Bills provide that is should be the State policy to assist taxpayers in areas affected by natural calamities, through tax relief, to reasonably recover from the financial burden caused upon them by such natural disasters. In such cases of severe suffering of the people, there is a need to balance the government’s primordial need for funds and the people’s right to life, liberty and property according to the measure.
Roque, author of House Bill 3274, also raised the need to provide tax exemption to donations and assistance given to victims of calamities in order to encourage donors and for the maximum utilization of the donations extended.
Among the calamities cited in the measure are typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or similar natural disasters.
It is proposed that a declaration of a state of calamity by the proper local sanggunian shall make effective certain tax reliefs.
One of these is that the real property tax in the affected area shall not be assessed and collected for one fiscal year, starting from the date of declaration of a state of calamity.
It is also proposed that 90 days from effectivity of the law, the secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), in consultation with the Presidents of the Leagues of Provinces, Cities and Municipalities of the Philippines shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for its effective implementation, the bill provides.