Cebu to freeze, auction tax evaders' assets

The Cebu City government is set to to freeze or auction off the real properties of 50 delinquent taxpayers to compel them to pay their taxes.

The threat extends to the seven private schools and hospitals which filed a case against the city government.

“I will now exercise and implement the administrative and judicial remedes in the collection of taxes," said Acting Cebu City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva.

The list of delinquent taxpayers is ready for publication in local newspapers next week, she said.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña supported the move.

"Enough is enough. It’s not fair that the tax burden is with the small tax payers while the schools and hospitals consume a lot of money and the city’s resources. It is bad enough that they don’t pay taxes. They insult our intelligence by saying that they are non-profit. Does anybody in the world believe that?" Osmeña said.

Osmeña was referring to the seven schools and hospitals which filed a case in court questioning the legality of a revised city tax ordinance which now requires them to pay business taxes.

When sought for comment, lawyer Cornelius Mercado, Cebu Doctor’s Hospital and Cebu Doctor’s University counsel, said he could not comment because the case is in court, making any statement on the merits sub judice.

The other schools and hospitals included Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT), Southwestern University (SWU), Sacred Heart Hospital, Cebu North General Hospital , and Cebu Velez General Hospital.

Oliva said about 50 large scale business and real property owners have not been paying the city its due or about P250 million.

But since there are a lot of delinquents, Oliva said the city government will now enforce administrative and judiciary measures to compel them.

"We try to make it easy for them but the previous city treasurer and city attorney were very timid, if not accommodating," Mayor Osmeña said.

The mayor recently let go of acting city legal officer Rodolfo Golez and acting treasurer Renee Empaces because of his disappointment in their performance.

Oliva said target taxpayers will be sent an authenticated certificate of tax delinquency.

Their names will be published in a local newspaper, which serves as notice to the parties.

They would also be individually notified and asked to settle their dues or strike a compromise agreement with the CTO within 30 days after the second and final demand letter is received.

If the demand of payment is not satisfied, the Cebu City government will freeze the real properties in the city assessors office and the registry of deeds , which prevents any sale or transfer of the land or buildings.

A public auction willl then be held. The owners have one year to redeem their properties and pay the tax penalties.

"There are so many delinquent tax payers, we will now implement the administrative remedies like distraint of personal property, stocks, bank accounts, “ said Olive.

But the CTO finally decided to just levy or legally seize the real properties.

The mayor said he would leave the legal work to the treasurer’s office. (

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