TACLOBAN CITY – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte has just passed an ordinance establishing the Integrated Taxation Management System for the province. The ordinance, authored by Vice Governor Carlo Loreto, mandates for the establishment of the iTAX National Development Center (iNDC) and the iTAX Regional Support Center in the province.
As iNDC, the provincial government is tasked to further develop, implement and promote the Philippine iTax to interested local government units; enter into a tripartite agreement with local government iTax Partners (IPs) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government and collect maintenance fees from IPs. Vice Gov. Loreto said the provincial board has to enact the iTax ordinance in order to institutionalize the system and provide a guideline in the imposition of service and maintenance fees to interested local government units to guarantee the sustainability of the service. The ordinance provides for the province-wide implementation of iTAX where all municipalities and component city under the provincial government are mandated to use the system. The iTAX is a software program developed by the German Development Cooperation-Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and provides aids to LGUs to address issues in tax collection. Several provinces and municipalities are already using the system including Leyte. As the IT hub of the region, the province, through a memorandum of agreement signed in May 2014 with the DILG, will act as service provider to other local government units interested to implement the system. Meanwhile, Loreto disclosed that municipalities of the province implementing the iTax claimed the system proved to be beneficial in performing non-tax and tax transactions. On the other hand the average increase of real property tax (RPT) collection in Leyte could be attributed to the iTax implementation. In the city of Baybay, real property tax collection increased by almost 70% between 2010 and 2012 from P6 million to close to P10 million per year. The provincial government of Leyte has an estimated saving of up to P40 million over 3 years because the revision of tax declarations performed by the software and takes only 10 days compared to manual revision that takes 3-4 months. (AHLETTE C. REYES)