In a summit organized by The Organization of Property Stakeholders (TOPS) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares called on property developers to pay their taxes fairly and by the book.
"I wish one day the Philippines would be made up of people who are honest," said Henares in an open forum.
"The numbers tell me that something is wrong," stated Henares. "I am all for housing, but the housing development law has been there for a long time . . . it says set aside 20 percent for building low-cost housing. I don't see this as a problem of government. I see this as a problem of the industry."
"It has been my experience that businesses will try to cheat government when they can," according to Henares. "They won't sacrifice their profit margins, and are always asking for incentives. But the reality is if the government doesn't have money, we can't give the necessary infrastructure. If there is no infrastructure, how can people go from one place to another? And if they can’t do this, there will be no real estate or property development to speak of."
According to Henares, developers are more likely to qualify for tax incentives and relaxed compliance requirements if they were to exhibit honesty and transparency in paying their dues.
Held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on July 18, the summit was themed "Measuring Our Gains and Meeting the Challenges Ahead." Industry experts and leaders conducted talks on a wide range of topics, including climate change and geological hazards, E-titling and computerized land registration, BIR initiatives, the Uniform Loan And Mortgage Agreement (ULAMA), and real estate's contribution to the economy at large.