MANILA – The Central Board of Assessment Appeals (CBAA) has resolved 26 cases appealed by local government units (LGUs) involving about PHP4.53 billion in combined real property taxes in 2020.
In his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, CBAA chairperson Robert Hernando Tobia said of the 26 cases it acted upon last year, 16 were received by the board that year.
Nine of these resolved cases were from Mindanao, four from the Visayas, and three from Luzon.
The CBAA said 22 cases remained pending in 2020 as a result of the suspension of its hearings during the government-imposed lockdowns since March 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Several Local Boards of Assessment Appeals (LBAAs) have also remained inactive or have yet to organize, depriving taxpayers of real property tax remedies and procedures that should be available to them.
The CBAA, a quasi-judicial agency of the Department of Finance, is mandated to decide on real property tax assessment cases brought on appeal from the decisions of the LBAAs of cities and provinces, as provided under Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code.
Dominguez told the CBAA to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to seek the latter’s assistance in having LBAAs activated and organized in all cities and provinces amid the Covid-related mobility restrictions.
As of December 2020, Tobia said six CBAA-resolved cases were still pending before the Court of Tax Appeals, while 21 were already elevated to the Supreme Court.
The CBAA decided on only one case and resolved three motions for reconsideration filed before it in 2020 owing to the lockdowns, but these cases were acted upon swiftly within the timeframe set by the Board, he said.
For cases appealed by the LBAAs, the CBAA was able to act upon them within the given timeframe of 30 days after receipt of complete documentation.
For the case submitted for decision, this was resolved within the 90-day timeframe, Tobia said in his report.
“Over a five-year period from 2016 to 2020, we were able to act on 100 percent of cases appealed by the LBAAs, and on 90 percent of cases submitted to us for decision,” he said, adding that last year, the Board mounted an information campaign to guide and educate LGUs on the existence of the CBAA and how to efficiently assess and collect real property taxes.
The CBAA also informed LGUs about its new rules of procedure and continued to remind LGUs with inactive LBAAs to organize these boards to provide taxpayers and other stakeholders with legal remedies on real property tax issues that should be available to them at the local government level.
“Due to the pandemic and limited budget, instead of organizing an orientation and consultation with stakeholders, we distributed primers, which benefited stakeholders where Internet access is difficult and limited,” Tobia said.
The CBAA, he said, would sustain this information campaign this year and strive to maintain its ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001:2015 certification received from TÜV Nord Philippines during the first surveillance audit done on its management system in 2020. (PNA)