City dads lament the 5% poll expenses tax

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
URDANETA CITY- After seven months after the May 2010 elections, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is still running after vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) who have not remitted their 5% withholding tax collections from their electoral expenses.
The officials received a letter from the BIR demanding them to remit their collections which have already accumulated 20% interests , surcharges, penalty for late filing and 3% penalty on late payment. Collections range from P6,000 to P20,000 from each of the city officials who ran for elections in May 2010.
“ Why are we obliged to pay the 5% withholding tax from our election expenses when these are supposed to be the responsibilities of the suppliers and donors?” Vice Mayor Onofre Gorospe questioned BIR Representative Florentino U. Das during their session last December 13 at the Session Room of the New City Hall at Anonas village here.
Das explained that what their office is invoking is the compliance of the elected officials of BIR Memorandum Circular 35-2009 in which candidates in the May 2010 elections were deemed designated as withholding agents.
In the said circular, the candidates being designated as withholding agents should deduct outright the 5% withholding tax from suppliers before paying their bills and the same shall be remitted to the BIR.
He further said that public consultations among candidates prior to the elections were conducted, but then they received no negative reactions from them.
City Legal Officer Dionisio Antiniw, who was also present during the session said that the suppliers should shoulder the 5% withholding tax on electoral expenses and not the candidates.
Councilor Jennylin Sison queried as to what will be the percussions and effects on them if they will not comply with the BIR letter/notice, Das said that they will be considered as delinquent taxpayers and the penalties and interests will accumulate.
Having not reached an amicable decision on that regard, Gorospe requested copies of circulars and memoranda on the issue from the BIR.
Das, on the other hand, requested the SP to put in writing whatever dissensions they have on the imposition of the circulars, so that the main office of the BIR could give its opinion on the matter.
Meanwhile, the SP approved unanimously a resolution granting authority to Mayor Amadeo Gregorio “Bobom” Perez IV to execute, sign and deliver the deed of exchange between the city government and the Fernandez clan for the swapping of 65.45 sq. meters property of the latter to the 80 sq. meters property of the city government for the use in the construction of the city’s overpass.
The remainder of the land area, as a result of the swapping, will be paid by he Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to the City of Urdaneta. 

Source: Northern Watch Online