MANILA  - - Zonal valuation of land in Philippines will be at par with international standards once lawmakers approve the third package of the Duterte administration’s tax reform program.

“BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) already has a valuation of the land, which we applied for sales, zonal value, so we are going to suggest in the law is the NG (national government) provides the assessments on the value which is more or less going to be the zonal value,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

The Finance chief said officials of local government units (LGUs) currently have the power to decide on tax rates of real estate and its improvements.

He explained that LGU officials will still have the authority to decide to either or not follow the rates to be set by the NG under the proposed tax reform.

He said local officials are hesitant to increase real estate taxes because these will be questioned by their constituents.

“If they want to apply it high or they want to apply it zero it’s up to them. So the principle of local autonomy is still maintained because they are the ones who will determine what rate to be applied to that valuation,” he said.

Dominguez said package three of the tax reform will be revenue neutral  for the NG but not the LGUs.

“For the local governments, it might be revenue positive. But it really depends on them, how they will use that tool,” he said.

Finance officials plan to submit the third package of tax reform by the middle of this year. (PNA)