By CRIS DIAZ
THE dismissal of the administrative case filed against Marilou Manticahon Rivera, the current provincial accountant of the provincial capitol in Misamis Oriental, was “justice due to where it is due.”
The Pilipinas Kao, a Japanese registered oleo-chemical company in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, has filed an administrative case against Rivera with the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the provincial capitol’s filing of garnishment proceedings against the company’s failure to pay taxes amounting to P 600 million.
Pilipinas Kao alleged that Rivera committed oppression and neglect of duty in her desire for the company to pay the taxes due to the provincial government. Provincial Governor Bambi Emano described the case filed by the Pilipinas Kao against the accountant as “harassment.”
Obviously, the Pilipinas Kao does not want to pay taxes.
Emano was right because even a layman could sense that the case was not only “a form of harassment,” but an act committed in the most distasteful order. In the first place, what it the motive of a private company to file a case against the provincial worker who only fulfilled the mandate of her job?
The Ombudsman meted a 12-month suspension order against Rivera in August 2015. However, the Court of Appeal (CA) reversed and dismissed the order in a decision penned on Oct. 24, 2017. Obviously, the CA found the case against Rivera without merit.
Notwithstanding, the issue’s bone of contention is the action of the Pilipinas Kao. The filing of case against Rivera only meant one thing: Pilipinas Kao is not paying its tax due the provincial government. While most businessmen are inclined to pay the taxes due the government, there are some who would really try to circumvent the law when it comes to paying taxes. Is the Pilipinas Kao one of the unscrupulous company who refuses to pay government taxes? The CYNOSURE would want the question answered by the readers.
One thing is certain, with the dismissal and the acquittal of Ms. Rivera by the appellate court, it is time for the provincial government pursue its obsession to collect the P 600 million taxes from the Pilipinas Kao. Perhaps, the tax is the Real Estate Tax due the provincial government.
The company argued that it is exempt from taxes because it is registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in 2014. This is a flimsy argument because under the PEZA rule, there is no such thing as “total tax exemption.” Companies, especially those engaged in import and export, which are registered under PEZA are entitled only to some “tax incentives” and “tax holidays.” In other words, the registration of the company in PEZA is not a “boundless” privilege.
Section 18 of Presidential Decree No. 66, (the law that created the Export Processing Zone), provides that any business engaged in the production, processing, packaging, or manipulation of export products shall, to the extent of their construction, operation, or production inside the zone, be exempt from the payment of any and all local government imposts, fees, licenses, or taxes, EXCEPT REAL ESTATE TAXES.
The real estate tax is computed according to the assessed value of the property. The revenue generated from real estate taxes are used to help pay for local services like road maintenance, snow removal, public schools and the operation of local government offices. Real estate taxes are calculated as a percentage of a property’s tax assessed value. This is the reason that provincial governor Bambi Emano wants the Pilipinas Kao to pay its real taxes and other taxes due the local government.
To date, there have been no PEZA Board resolutions or issuances specifically exempting the payment of local business tax by PEZA-registered entities under the 30% regular corporate income tax including Logistics Services Enterprises.
Unless and until PEZA clarifies the matter through a formal Board resolution or issuance rationalizing the Memorandum of Agreement or the amended MC 2004-024, the issue of the legality of IMPOSING FEES in connection with the mayor’s permit and imposing local business tax on PEZA-registered enterprises REMAINS. -0- Email reactions/comments: [email protected]
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