This after the City Council passed a resolution moving the deadline to the end of this month.
“We have extended our deadline for the business permit renewal, which was supposed to be today (Jan. 20) through Resolution 16-1502-2023 already signed by Vice Mayor (Raymond) Garcia but still for signature of Mayor Rama,” City Treasurer Mare Vae “Ivy” Reyes said Friday, adding the mayor would always support the needs of the business sector.
Reyes said they moved the deadline after seeing that a lot of business owners and bookkeepers still needed to be accommodated.
Reyes admitted having delays in the business tax assessment, especially if the business owner and the tax collector do not agree on the documents presented by the owner of the business establishment.
She also responded to complaints by business owners about City Hall personnel’s practice of arbitrarily putting their own gross sales figure, which is the basis for the computation of the business permit fees, in place of the one indicated by the business owner in the business permit application form.
The City Hall-imposed gross sales figures are always higher than the ones submitted by the business owners, causing the latter to complain about being held hostage by the local government unit which wields absolute power over who can operate in the city.
Reyes said the requirements for renewal of the business permit found at the back of the application form include the financial statement and other forms from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and value-added tax returns. But if these are not available, they base it on the gross sales of the previous year.
Reyes said the allegation was that during the Covid-19 pandemic, when lockdowns hit practically all businesses, the sales figures City Hall placed were still the same as those before the pandemic.
“Let’s remember that during the pandemic there were also business sectors whose sales were strong, such as medicines, food, personal computers, laptops because everything went online. We really considered it. In fact, it can be seen in the reports that our income really dropped. It’s not like we forced what we wanted,” Reyes said in Cebuano.
“I don’t think it’s a correct allegation (that we decided on the sales figures on our own), although if they say that the personnel really insisted, we have a special concern lane for them to present their problem for settlement. That’s why there are delays.”
Reyes said business establishments that don’t issue receipts to their customers in the hope of paying lower taxes will still be made to pay the right amount of taxes since there is a tax assessment that will determine their tax deficiencies.
Reyes added there were also mall tenants that sell personal computers, laptops and other gadgets who declared their gross sales as P300,000, which the tax collector did not find convincing.
“If we really cannot agree, we will go with the declaration, but we will subject it to examination afterwards. This is also what they don’t like because if we examine the books in 2022, 2021 and 2020, usually the (assessment) will even increase by 80-90 percent,” Reyes said.
She disclosed that the City Treasurer’s Office has collected a total of P490.4 million from Jan. 5 to 19 from business permit applications, of which renewals have been conducted at SM City Cebu and Robinsons Galleria.
By Jan. 31, Reyes expects collections from the nearly 40,000 business establishments in the city to reach P1 billion. (TPT)