No compromise on taxes from schools, hospitals

CEBU, Philippines - No compromise agreement was made during the pre trial conference on the tax dispute between the Cebu City government and the seven universities and hospitals before the sala of Branch 23 Judge Generosa Labra yesterday.
Lawyers refused to issue any comment and disallowed the media at the pre trial conference.
The Cebu City government is maintaining its stand of no longer settling with schools and hospitals that have allegedly been remiss in paying their taxes.
In an earlier statement, City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva said City Hall told the courts that it was pulling out of attempts to amicably settle with the seven schools and hospitals that filed cases against the city for demanding taxes since they are supposedly tax exempt.
Lawyer Cornelio Mercado, legal counsel of Cebu Doctors’ Hospital and lead prosecution lawyer in behalf of the other schools and hospitals who filed the case against the city, declined to comment on the matter.


Mayor Tomas OsmeƱa said that if the institutions continue to insist that the city’s revised tax ordinance was illegal and that schools and hospitals should not pay business taxes, the city would freeze their bank accounts.
Oliva said her office would enforce civil remedies for the collection of delinquent taxes under the implementing rules and regulations of the Local Government Code.
These include administrative action like holding the assets of these institutions, such as their stocks and other securities, bank accounts and real properties.

The city may also file a case.
According to the City Treasurer’s Office, Cebu Doctors’ Hospital owes the city a total of P81.4 million in taxes from 2005 to 2009, while the Cebu Doctors’ University owes P36.2 million from 2000 to 2008.
The University of Cebu’s Sanciangko campus also has payables of P91.8 million for the years 2000 to 2002, and 2006 to 2008, said City Hall records.
UC’s Banilad campus owes P15.6 million for the years 2002 to 2008.
City Hall said Southwestern University has not secured a mayor’s permit to operate since 2000 and has not settled its tax delinquencies from 2000 to 2007 worth P34.5 million.
Sacred Heart Hospital has also incurred business tax deficiency for the period of 2000 to 2007 amounting to P6.8 million, treasury records showed.
The City Treasurer’s Office is still assessing the delinquencies of other schools and hospitals.

(Freeman News)

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