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News Briefs: Jan. 21, 2019

05:30 AM January 21, 2019

P7-M tax assessment on UCCP hospital canceled

The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has canceled the P7-million income tax assessment against the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) arising from the government’s refusal to apply the tax-exempt status on its now-defunct Bethany Hospital for the year 2010.

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In a Jan. 15 decision, the court’s Special Third Division granted UCCP’s petition to set aside the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Oct. 15, 2014, final assessment notice and Nov. 7, 2014, formal letter of demand.

The court said the notice and demand letter were null and void for being issued beyond the three-year prescriptive period under the National Internal Revenue Code.

It said the BIR did not justify its failure to meet the deadline.

The BIR invoked fraud as an exemption, claiming that UCCP falsely indicated the Tacloban City-based hospital to be a “tentative exempt organization,” when it was supposedly a nonstock and nonprofit corporation that only enjoyed a 10-percent preferential tax rate.

However, the CTA said the BIR failed to prove UCCP’s intention to evade tax.

The charity hospital was destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda”  in 2013. —Vince F. Nonato

Passage of Siargao Island Medical Center bill pushed

The committees on health, ways and means and appropriations of the House of Representatives have jointly recommended the  approval of a bill converting the local district hospital in Siargao, the surfing capital of the Philippines, into a world-class Level 3 general hospital to be known as the Siargao Island Medical Center.

House Bill No. 8801 seeks to convert the Siargao District Hospital from 25-bed to a 100-bed capacity hospital with modern facilities and upgraded services over a  five-year period.

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The bill is now on its third reading at the Lower House. Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas II, principal author of the bill, said Siargao had no private or public licensed hospital to serve the more than 100,000 population of the island’s nine municipalities.

Matugas said the current four district hospitals in the island were licensed as infirmaries.

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