NGCP ordered to pay Tupi P3.7M in taxes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 July) — The Local Board of Assessment Appeal (LBAA) of South Cotabato province has ordered the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to pay the municipal government of Tupi around P3.7 million in realty taxes for its transmission towers and lines within the area.

Herbert Jugador, Tupi municipal assessor, said in a statement the directive was based on a ruling dated June 27, 2013 issued by the board in connection with the NGCP’s tax arrearages to the local government.

He said the company’s tax payments have already ballooned to 3.7 million based on their latest assessment.

The NGCP earlier filed an appeal with the LBAA, questioning the real property tax billing issued by the Tupi treasurer’s office in August last year.

The company cited in its appeal that the properties subjected to local taxation are owned by the National Transmission Corp. or Transco, a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) that is exempted from taxation.

It said the transmission lines with metal steel tower and accessories described as “machineries” are exempt from the payment of real property taxes as their ownership is retained by Transco.

NGCP noted that it is exempted from real property tax payments under Republic Act 9511 as a franchisee of Transco.

Rober Deanon, South Cotabato provincial assessor, and Tupi municipal assessor Herbet Jugador had sought for the dismissal of NGCP’s petition by invoking section 252 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which provides that “no protest shall be entertained unless the taxpayer pays the tax.”

Deanon and Jugador stressed that section 3 of the rules and procedure for appeals filed before LBAA provides a condition for filing an appeal that “no protest or appeal shall be entertained unless the taxpayer first pays the real property tax.”

“These shall be annotated on the tax receipts as paid under protest,” they cited.

The assessors noted that the NGCP is not exempted from paying real property taxes because it is not a GOCC and that the tower lines were not used for generation but for transmission of electric power.

In its four-page ruling, the South Cotabato LBAA ordered the NGCP to pay its taxes before they can act on its protest.

“Any taxpayer can appeal the action of the provincial, city and or municipal assessor which he is not satisfied with but has to pay the taxes due the government before his appeal could be entertained,” the LBAA explained.

The board said “the (tax) issues can be tackled only after the petitioner has paid the taxes under protest.”

The South Cotabato LBAA is composed of representatives from the Land Registration Authority, Department of Justice and the Registry of Deeds. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)