To Boost Rice Production Gov't Plans to Impose Tax on Idle Lands

Article excerpt

The National Land Use Committee (NLUC), chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), will promote idle land taxation as a long-term measure to address food self-sufficiency in rice.

The imposition of idle land tax is mandated in the Local Government Code (LGC) and Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), enabling Local Government Units (LGUs) to push landowners to put their agricultural lands to productive use.

The agreement was reached upon clarification that there is no inconsistency between the two laws with regard to idle land taxation. The LGC considers idle land tax as a revenue-raising measure while the AFMA treats it as a form of a penalty for agricultural inactivity.

In both laws, the idle land tax is collected primarily by the municipal treasurer. However, the municipality does not retain the proceeds as these accrue to the general fund of the province, in the case of the LGC-mandated idle land tax, and to the national treasury, in the case of AFMA.

To encourage the municipality to collect the said tax, the NLUC also agreed to push for the amendment of Section 273 of the LGC and Rule 11.3 of the AFMA's implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to provide for municipal share from the proceeds of idle land tax.

The NLUC will also advise the Leagues of Provinces and Municipalities to bilaterally discuss possible tax sharing schemes as an interim measure.

Since April this year, the NLUC has been discussing long-term policy measures that could increase rice production. …