October 23, 2017, 3:00 pm
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Gov’t to lose P100B from REIT

The Department of Finance (DOF) estimates government will potentially give up P100 billion with the implementation of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) Law.

Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, said REIT will not  be good for the country unless there is a way to make sure  profits from tax-free asset transfers will be reinvested here.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the Filipino public to pass a legislation or to write the implementing rules and regulations (unless there is a way to make sure that the money is reinvested locally),” Dominguez said.

“We added up all the values of real estate that can be potentially transferred, we figured out the tax if (these properties are)  sold, what would be the tax given up, and that’s what we came up with,” said Dominguez in explaining the estimate of P100 billion.

That estimate, he said is based on the various taxes that would given up as an incentive: 18 percent giving in , 12 percent value-added tax and  the six percent transfer tax.

Under the law, REITs are required to have a public float of 40 percent in their first two years after listing with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). Public ownership should rise to 67 percent by the third year after listing.

The REIT Act lapsed into law in 2009 but has not  moved forward on issues like minimum public ownership and taxation.

“We estimate that we will be giving up, in a sense, about P100 billion over the period. The problem is you are giving a tax incentive in the hope that the yield in tax incentives will be reinvested in the real estate business. But it is a hope, it is not a certainty,” Dominguez said.

“At this point in time... unless I am sure that the money is going to be recycled back, then we will give up potentially P100 billion,” he added.

Dominguez, however clarified that the REIT is “not dead in the water.”

“I haven’t figured out a way to make sure that what we give up is worth it for our country. If we end up giving P100 billion away and nothing gets reinvested here or very little amount, we are not doing the country good,” Dominguez said.
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