Davao City to check land use

Subscribe Now January 15, 2014 at 02:26pm

The local government has identified several strategies to improve tax collection, including an inventory of idle lands and lands’ actual use vis-a-vis their declared use.

This is in line with the city’s goal of increasing its revenues and boosting its budget, which is pegged at P5.1 billion this year.

“We will conduct inspections in order to come up with an inventory of idle lands in the city,” said Jhopee A. Agustin, assistant city administrator for operation. This is the first time that the local government will conduct such an inventory, Ms. Agustin said.

Roberto P. Alabado III, former city planning chief, said Davao’s expansion has resulted in the neglect of the original business district and has resulted in the proliferation of idle lands, some sold by their owners to property speculators, within the central business district.

“Development controls like the idle land tax are listed as options of local government units, but these are underutilized. There is a need to assess the implications on the operation of the local government unit as well as impact on the urban environment,” Mr. Alabado said.

Another strategy the local government is considering is to improve its tax collection through actual visits and inspections of lands and buildings, based on a list from the city building office.

“We checked those issued building permits and cross-checked if they have tax declarations, and we found out most of them do not have such document, which means they did not pay their real property tax,” Ms. Agustin said.

Up to 50% of machinery and equipment used by industries in the city also do not have tax declarations, she said.

Melchor V. Quitain, city administrator, said development has caught up with many lands in the city, and while most of them were once classified as agricultural or residential, they now have different uses. “We have to check on the actual use of these lands because once it has been converted for commercial use then the tax payment will definitely be higher,” he said.

Ms. Agustin said property owners will be asked to pay the proper tax declaration depending on their circumstances. If there is no tax declaration, then it will be from the time of the building’s construction.

But, for reassessments of land use, the tax adjustment will start from the time the use of the land was actually changed.

Danilo C. Dayanghirang, city council committee on finance chairman, said the city assessor’s office should also consider the taxation of power and communication posts. This option is available to the city government as mandated by the Local Government Code, he said, but is not being implemented.

“The city has not been charging taxes to power posts and communication lines owned by companies like Bayantel and PLDT while other areas, like Digos City, are imposing such taxes,” Mr. Dayanghirang said.

Source: bworldonline.com

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