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Tourism businesses seek delay in local taxes
In a letter to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III said the group has received reports from stakeholders that various local governments have been issuing assessment fees for business taxes, which most are unable to pay due to the current state of the tourism industry.
Michael Varcas, file

Tourism businesses seek delay in local taxes

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism stakeholders are requesting for the deferment of the payment of local business taxes this year given the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of the industry.

In a letter to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III said the group has received reports from stakeholders that various local governments have been issuing assessment fees for business taxes, which most are unable to pay due to the current state of the tourism industry.

“Most only earned income during the first quarter of 2020, with nothing else after that,” Clemente said.

He said that some LGUs are also basing their assessment fees on 2019 income, which does not take into consideration business conditions of 2020.

“In this regard, we would like to respectfully request if the Department of the Interior and Local Government can defer the payments of business taxes for 2021 in light of the pandemic and its adverse effects on the tourism (industry),” Clemente said.

The TCP official  emphasized that tourism has been basically shut down since mid-March last year and most stakeholders do not have the resources to pay for those assessments.

“We would appreciate any assistance the DILG can extend to the tourism stakeholders on this matter,” Clemente said.

The tourism industry has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, given the travel restrictions imposed to curb virus transmission.

Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) shows that international visitor arrivals dropped 83.97 percent to 1.3 million in 2020 from 8.2 million arrivals in 2019.

This translated to an 83.12 percent drop in inbound tourism receipts for the year to P81.40 billion compared to the P482.16 billion  the year before.

In a separate letter to Año, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat endorsed the letter of the TCP, as well as a similar letter from the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) on their request for the possible deferment of payment of local business taxes, and extension period for the filing of business permits for 2021.

“It may be recalled that in one of the IATF meetings, it was discussed that the DILG would encourage LGUs to defer payment of local business taxes, in consideration of dire financial straits of certain businesses,” Puyat said.

“In this regard, we hope that your good office may review the attached requests, and extend any possible assistance to our tourism stakeholders as we work towards the recovery of the industry,” she said.

The waiving of corporate and individual taxes for 2020 for accredited tourism stakeholders and the waiving of payments for licenses and permits for 2020 and 2021 were among the earlier recommendations of stakeholders to aid the recovery of the industry.

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