BIR rejects Tacloban traders’ appeal for tax moratorium
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — The businessmen whose operations were affected by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (Haiyan) could not be granted tax moratorium by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares explained that this could not be allowed under the country’s tax laws. According to Henares, there is no law giving a tax holiday to businessmen even during a calamity.
The BIR commissioner met with local businessmen from Tacloban City on Tuesday afternoon at the Leyte Sports Development Complex, which serves as the command post of multi-agency Task Force Yolanda.
“But we can be very considerate to them,” Henares said. She, however, did not elaborate on what she meant by being considerate.
Henry Cua, president of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that despite the rejection of their appeal, they were not disappointed.
“We were not disappointed as the discussion was productive. We just hope that our government will also understand us. We have no stocks to sell. We were affected. We just hope that they will offer soft loans to us,” Cua said.
Jack Uy, president of the Tacloban Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they would ask the government to grant them soft loans at minimal interest rate.
Uy said these loans could help them purchase new stocks to replace the ones they lost to looters.
“This will help hasten our economic recovery,” Uy said.
In the same meeting, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said they were amenable to the appeal for soft loans coming from the local businessmen.
Purisima, however, said they would have to study this proposal.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez expressed sympathy for the businessmen although he was not in favor of proposed tax moratorium.
Romualdez noted that the city government could not operate without the taxes paid by the business community and its internal revenue allotment (IRA).
He said Tacloban City got P400 million from local taxes and a similar amount from the IRA.
The granting of a tax holiday to businessmen would further reduce the city’s income, Romualdez pointed out.
The mayor projected that with the economic cost brought by Yolanda, Tacloban’s local revenues would be reduced by 50 percent.
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