Coops still fighting for tax exemptions

IMG_8867More than three years after the issuance of the Joint Rules and Regulations Implementing the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 or Republic Act (RA) No. 9520, which spells out the tax incentives and concessions available to qualified cooperatives, some of its beneficiaries are still in the process of securing the necessary exemption status from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

This was one of the issues that was brought up during the joint congressional oversight committee public hearing on the two legislative measures Senate Bill No. (SBN) 89 and SBN 424 at the Capitol Social Hall last September 5. Sponsored by Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the proposed legislative measures seek to re-organize the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), which was established by law in the year 1990.

Members of the cooperatives requested the CDA to conduct seminars with the BIR in order to effectively implement tax exemptions granted by RA No. 9520 and RA 7160 or the “Local Government Code of 1991.” “It is necessary for the BIR officers to be knowledgeable of tax privileges of cooperatives so that we would not anymore look for lawyers for consultation,” said Felicidad Ruiz, vice-chairperson of Dumaguete Cathedral Credit Cooperative.

RA No. 9520 grants certain tax exemptions to cooperatives that are transacting business with their members, and subject to certain conditions set forth in the same law, those transacting business with non-members. RA 7160 also reiterated the tax exemptions including real estate taxes.

Section 13 of SBN 424 states that all cooperatives that are registered with CDA shall only present their Certificate of Registration to the nearest BIR office to be able to secure the Certificate of Tax Exemption. This would hasten the exemption process, as the cooperatives no longer need to get a certificate of good standing from CDA to qualify for the tax exemptions.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III, in his welcome address, said that it is time to make changes in CDA that should be suited to the needs of the present situation considering that cooperatives are valuable partners to governance. According to him, the law creating the CDA and instituting mechanisms for the development and regulation of cooperatives should also be fine-tuned and responsive to the growing number of cooperatives in the Province.

Congressman Cresente C. Paez, chair of the house committee on cooperatives development, co-chaired the public hearing. Former Cong. Pablo Garcia was also present during the public hearing together with the other members and heads of the various cooperatives in region 6, 7, and 8. (Xerxes Alkuino)