By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Public transport groups have agreed to pay back fines for unpaid quarterly income taxes that the Bureau of Internal Rvenue (BIR) failed to collect for several years now.
Rey Bacoco of the United Metro Baguio-Benguet Jeepney Federation and Cordillera UV Express Van Federation said that more than 300 operators of public utility vehicles registered in Baguio-Benguet have agreed to pay P900 in fines for not paying quarterly tax from 2016 to 2017 and P1,000 for the first quarter of 2018.
Bacoco said they only came to know about the quarterly tax payment this year. “We have never paid quarterly tax, but the BIR had been issuing us tax clearances for the past years,” he said.
“We were shocked when the BIR suddenly told us that we have fines because all these years we thought we have paid all the necessary taxes,” Bacoco added.
Bacoco said that when they went to file their income taxes this year, they were told that they had to pay P3,000 in fines for non-remittance of quarterly tax for 2016-2017. He said that for as long as he could remember the BIR had only been collecting precentage tax and annual income taxes from public transport operators.
Antonio Jonathan Jaminola, the officer in charge of BIR Cordillera said during the consultation brokered by the Baguio City Council last July 9 , that the quarterly payment of ITRs by operators of public utility vehicles like jeepneys, taxis, and buses among other common carriers is not a new regulation because this has been implemented for several years now under the Revenue Code of 1997.
Jaminola said he just assumed office in April and does not know why quarterly tax has not been collected in the past.
During the same consultation, Jaminola offered to lower set payments to P1,500 for one year, explaining the bargain is the sole concession allowed within his powers.
Bacoco said representatives of public transport groups met with Jaminola on July 17 where they arrived at the P900 compromise. He added that the payment of fines will no longer be a requirement for the issunace of tax clearance. But operators must settle the fines before the year ends.
He added there are several operators who were forced to pay the P3,000 fine because they were told they will not be issued tax clearance for the year. He said that they will not be able to renew their franchise without a tax clearance.
He said that those who have paid the P3,000 fine can talk to Jaminola. “Maybe they can offset the extra payment with other fees they need to pay or for future payments,” he said. # nordis.net