THE deadline to pay taxes, fees and charges to local government units (LGUs) has been extended again to Dec. 19 to provide some relief from the pandemic.

In a statement Monday, the Department of Finance (DoF) said it issued Department Circular No. 003-2020 moving the deadline to Dec. 19 for payment of all taxes, fees and charges due on or beyond Sept. 4 with no interest, surcharges or penalties.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the guidelines are authorized by Republic Act (RA) No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan II).

The circular also suspended until Dec. 19 the counting of the period to pay local taxes, fees, and charges as well as the period for the redemption of real properties sold or forfeited at public auction.

If an LGU had extended the deadline even before Bayanihan II took effect, the DoF said the deadline will be moved to Dec. 19. Meanwhile, further extensions beyond the set date will have to be in line with RA 7160 or the Local Government Code.

“As for local tax delinquencies prior to the effectivity of Bayanihan II on Sept. 15, all payments shall be due and demandable upon the expiration of the Dec. 19 deadline,” the DoF said.

Interest, penalties and surcharges will be charged after the deadline has passed.

At the height of the lockdown in April, the government also extended the payment deadline for local taxes, without interest or penalties, as part of the first relief package under RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The DoF said the new relief measure aims to ease the burden of households and businesses severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The circular asked LGUs and local treasurers to inform the taxpayers of the new dates. They also need to reconfigure the electronic information systems to incorporate the new deadline.

Local treasurers have also been told to postpone administrative or judicial actions they were planning to conduct while the law is still in effect.

Taxpayers who want to settle their fees early can also do so as LGUs were ordered to accelerate implementation of electronic payment systems.

The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) can provide technical help to LGUs in implementing the new guidelines. The BLGF will also monitor compliance. — Beatrice M. Laforga