In line with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which seeks to provide relief to Filipinos impacted by the severe disruption of economic activities brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Finance (DOF) has issued on April 23 Department Circular (DC) No. 002-2020, which extended deadlines for the payment of “taxes, fees, and charges of local government units (LGUs), pursuant to Section 4 (z)” of RA 11469.
In a letter transmitting the DC to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said it was the DOF’s view that Section 4 (z) be “liberally construed to include all LGUs.”
Dominguez added that the DOF issued DC 002-2020 “for the uniform adoption and implementation by all LGUs on the extension of deadlines for the payment of local taxes, fees, and charges and providing relevant guidelines for the purpose.”
He said that prior to the issuance of the DC, only 146 LGUs have announced or authorized the extension of payment deadlines for local fees, taxes and charges.
Dominguez added that the lack of uniformity “defeat the purpose of relevant community quarantine orders.”
Section 4 of the DC extended the deadlines for the payment of “all local taxes, fees, and charges duly authorized and imposed by LGUs within their respective territorial jurisdictions as of 25 March 2020” to June 25.
The Section also stated that “the counting of the period within which to pay local taxes, fees, and charges shall likewise be suspended during the said period.”
“In the event that an LGU had already extended the deadlines prior to the effectivity of RA 11469, such deadlines shall be deemed modified with the period set forth herein. Any further extension thereof shall be authorized in accordance with the provisions of RA 7160 (Local Government Code),” the Section said.
Section 5 of the DC said that as a result of the extension, “no interest, surcharge or any form of penalty shall be applied on any local tax, fee or charge accruing on or due and demandable” during the extension period.
However, all previous delinquencies shall be due and the accrual of interest, penalties and surcharges shall begin after the extension.
The DC also instructed local treasurers and assessors to defer the issuance of written authorities to conduct examination of books of accounts and pertinent business records, activities related to appraisal and assessment of real properties, posting and publishing of notices of delinquencies, warrants of levy, and advertisements for sale or auction, and pursuing administrative or judicial action for the enforcement and/or collection of local taxes, fees, or charges.
Dominguez said that he issued the DC in the exercise of his power as DOF chief to move deadlines for the payment of taxes, fees and charges under Section 4(z) of RA 11469, which was delegated in a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated March 28 to the Secretary of Finance.
The DC will be effective immediately upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation, and will remain effective until the state of public health emergency is lifted, subject to changes issued or instructed by the Office of the President (OP).
Related queries and concerns may be directed to the Local Fiscal Policy Service of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) through firstname.lastname@example.org.