📰 Property valuation reforms pushed by DOF [Manila Times]

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From The Manila Times: Sen. Lacson’s Senate Bill 44 is one of the bills being backed by the Department of Finance to reform the country’s outdated property valuation system.

Related: Lacson Bill Sets Unified Standards, Processes for Land Valuation

Property valuation reforms pushed

BY MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO, TMT
AUGUST 22, 2018 BUSINESS

The Department of Finance (DoF) has expressed support for proposals aimed at reforming the country’s “outdated” property valuation system.

In a statement on Tuesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said the department was backing Senate Bill 44, filed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and its counterparts, House Bill (HB) 2207 introduced by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and HB 68 by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.

The pending bills are in line with the valuation reforms being pushed by the government, he added.

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“Essentially, real estate is the most valuable asset and biggest financial resource,” Dominguez was quoted as saying in a letter to lawmakers.

“But its contribution to government revenues, particularly for local governments, has remained dismal due to outdated Schedule of Market Values (SMVs), poor collection efficiency and tax administration and lack of uniformity in the valuation of real property.”

In the letter, the Finance chief said the need for an “equitable, efficient and transparent valuation system” had become even more urgent so as to “stimulate the property market, attract investments, improve government’s resource mobilization through property taxation, and foster greater confidence in the real estate sector.”

The Finance department explained that the proposed reforms would lead to the adoption of international standards, particularly by “setting up a single valuation base for taxation and benchmarking purposes, insulating the valuation process from politics as LGUs (local government units) will continue to regulate tax rates and assessment levels, improving the oversight functions of the national government, and establishing an electronic database to support valuation.”

Dominguez suggested several enhancements such as the establishment of a Real Property Valuation Service within the Bureau of Local Government Finance.

A provision barring an LGU from receiving any “conditional or performance-based grants or any form of credit financing from the national government” in cases where it fails to update its SMV and conduct a general revision of property assessments every time the Secretary of Finance approves a new set was also proposed.

“Dominguez also recommended a provision requiring local assessors and other local officials and staff dealing with real property valuation to undergo training under the Philippine Tax Academy, as well as mandating them to automate their operations, adopt tax mapping technology, maintain software-enabled valuation system, undertake data cleansing and computerize their records management system,” the Finance department said.

The publication of the local ordinance for the new and revised assessment levels and tax rates should be the responsibility of local governments, it added.

Dominguez also proposed that the Secretary of Finance should no longer endorse persons for appointments as local assessors considering that the law already requires assessors and assistant assessors to be licensed.

Lastly, “the Finance Secretary further recommended that a provision on the mandatory constitution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals be included to ensure that available redress mechanisms are in place and that the Register of Deeds shall provide assessors with real property transactions data and make the information sharing free of charge,” the department said.