Penalties for unpaid real property taxes

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have not been paying my real property taxes lately because of financial constraints. I would like to make a query on how much is the interest of unpaid real property tax in Quezon City? Aside from the interest, is there a penalty?

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Thank you.
JCK

Dear JCK,
Taxation is known in law as the lifeblood of the government. Taxation is one of the inherent powers of the state. The money of the government comes mostly from the taxes that each individual community member pays. Under the law, all local taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue on the first (1st) day of January of each year. However, new taxes, fees or charges, or changes in the rates thereof, shall accrue on the first (1st) day of the quarter next following the effectivity of the ordinance imposing such new levies or rates. Payment of all local taxes, fees, and charges shall be paid within the first twenty (20) days of January or of each subsequent quarter, as the case may be. The Sanggunian (local legislative body) concerned may, for a justifiable reason or cause, extend the time for payment of such taxes, fees, or charges without surcharges or penalties, but only for a period not exceeding six (6) months (Sections 165-167, Local Government Code of 1991).

It is the duty of every real property owner to declare his/her property for taxation purposes and to pay the required taxes as mandated by the Local Government Code of 1991 and/or the ordinances promulgated by the local legislative bodies. Failure on the part of a taxpayer to pay the required taxes on the said real properties will make him liable to pay the corresponding penalties and interests.

Anent your query if there will be interests and penalties on unpaid real propertytaxes the answer is in the affirmative. The right of the local government to impose interests and penalties to delinquent real property owners is based on the Local Government Code of 1991 where it is provided that the local legislative body concerned may impose a surcharge not exceeding twenty-five percent (25 percent) of the amount of taxes, fees or charges not paid on time and an interest at the rate not exceeding two percent (2 percent) per month of the unpaid taxes, fees or charges including surcharges, until such amount is fully paid. However, the total interest on the unpaid amount or portion thereof shall not exceed thirty-six (36) months (Section 168, Local Government Code of 1991).

From the foregoing provisions, it is clear however that the charges or penalties may not be higher than 25 percent of the unpaid amount of taxes and the interest shall not be higher than 2 percent per month. Thus, you can at least estimate the amount of penalties and interests due based on the assessed value of your real property. To prevent the further accumulation of the penalties and interest, you may pay your taxes the soonest. You may also avail of the tax amnesty if the Local Government of Quezon City is giving tax amnesty. For proper guidance, you may visit the City Treasurer’s Office of Quezon City to make queries on how much you are liable to pay.

We hope that we were able to address your query. Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are included or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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