Davao expands tax, non-fiscal incentives for foreign, domestic investors

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 September) – The local government has expanded its tax holidays and improved non-fiscal incentives for foreign and domestic investors to drive up investments in the city, an official of the Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) said.

During a virtual press conference, Christian Cambaya, head of the Investor Assistance and Servicing Unit of the DCIPC, said the new Davao City Investment Code allows the Davao City Investment Incentive Board to grant exemptions from business tax for three years, real property tax for two years, and mayor’s permit fees, licenses and charges for three years to new investors.

Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio meets with European envoys during sidelines of the 2019 Davao Investment Conference (Davao ICon) at the SMX Convention Center Thursday (20 June 2019). From left: Mihai Sion, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Romania; Ambassador Saskia de Lang, Embassy of the Netherlands; Ambassador Harald Fries, Embassy of Sweden; Ambassador Jozsef Bencz, Embassy of Hungary; and European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen. MindaNews photo

The board may grant a maximum additional one-year incentive for business tax and/or real property tax, to a registered enterprise that has direct positive impact on the promotion of activities listed in the 10 preferred investment areas and use of indigenous raw materials and/or will employ indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.

The 10 preferred investment areas are agri-business, tourism, light manufacturing, property development, health, education, technology, eco-industry, infrastructure and inclusive business activities.

Cambaya said the local government will release the Code’s implementing rules and regulations next month.

Under the revised Code, he added that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) could avail of longer tax holidays under the expanded incentive program, which was previously offered only to big companies.

“Before, micro and small businesses cannot apply for incentives because of capital requirement. We took it out. If your business falls in any of the 10 preferred investment areas, you can qualify for tax incentives offered by the government,” he said.

The Code provides that MSMEs doing business activities in investment areas could enjoy exemption from business tax for five years, real property tax for two years, and mayor’s permit fees, and licenses and charges, excluding building permit fees, for three years.

Non-fiscal incentives include express/priority lane for processing mayor’s permit and other local permits, assistance in securing special operating local permits and licenses, assistance in site the selection and negotiation for right of way, priority access to financial and technical assistance programs of the city government and other government agencies, and least priority in audit/tax assessment by the city.

DCIPC head April Marie Dayap, a former city councilor, said they are constantly communicating with prospective investors to keep them interested in pursuing business expansion in the city despite the coronavirus pandemic.

She said many Chinese businessmen have expressed interest to invest in the city as a result of several business missions to China last year.

The city is primed as a priority investment area in the country. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)