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The 'Cedula' and Notarized Documents

Written By Jane Miranda on Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Thursday, January 19, 2012


 MANILA, Philippines – Many people are familiar with the so-called Community Tax Certificate more popularly known as the Cedula. But while this is so, many of us need to know more about the cedula.

One may ask: What is the history of the community tax certificate? Many may be surprised to know that the community tax certificate or the cedula dates back to Spanish colonial time. The cedula, which was then issued to all Filipinos between the ages of 18 and 60 upon the payment of an annual residence tax, replaced the system of tribute then existing. The cedula took the limelight shortly before the start of the Philippine Revolution when Andres Bonifacio and other members of the Katipunan tore up their residence certificates as an act of defiance of the Spanish rule. Remember the cry of Pugad Lawin?

Come American rule in the Philippines, the so-called residence tax and the cedula were abolished. Until January 1, 1940 when Commonwealth Act No. 465 imposed again the payment of residence tax for individuals and corporations.

Let me share with you some basic information found in the Local Government Code of the Philippines about the cedula (community tax certificate):

A. Cities or municipalities may impose an annual community tax upon individuals and corporations that are residents in said places. All residents of cities and municipalities who are at least 18 years old – and regularly employed on a wage or salary basis for at least 30 consecutive working days during any calendar year; or who is engaged in business or occupation; or who owns real property with an aggregate assessed value of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos or more; or who is required by law to file an income tax return shall file a basic annual community tax of Five (P5.00) Pesos and an additional tax of One Peso (P1.00) for every One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos regardless of whether the income comes from business, exercise of profession or property.

B. For individuals, the community tax shall not exceed Five Thousand (P5,000) Pesos plus the basic Five Pesos (P5.00) – a total of P5,005.00.

C. For corporations, whether domestic or resident foreign engaged in or doing business in the Philippines shall pay a basic annual community tax of Five Hundred (P500.00) Pesos and an annual additional tax which shall not exceed Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos or a total tax of Ten Thousand Five Hundred (P10,500.00) Pesos (basic and additional). The additional corporate community tax shall be Two Pesos (P2.00) for every Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos worth of real property or for every Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos of Gross receipts or earnings.

D. The Community Tax shall be paid in the place of residence of the individual; or in the place where the principal office of the corporation (or other juridical entity) is located. The city or municipal treasurer shall deputize the barangay treasurer to collect provided said barangay treasurer shall be bonded according to the law.

E. The proceeds of the Community Tax shall be shared as follows: fifty (50%) percent shall accrue to the general fund of the city or municipality while the other fifty (50%) percent shall accrue to the barangay where the community tax is collected. The city or municipality shall pay the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the actual cost of printing and distribution of the forms and other expenses (funds will accrue to the general fund of the national government) spent by BIR in printing the Community Tax Certificate.

The city or municipal treasurer shall remit to the national treasurer the share of the national government within ten (10) days after the end of each quarter.

F. The Community Tax shall be paid not later than the last day of February of each year. A community tax certificate shall be issued to every person or corporation upon payment of the community tax. A community tax certificate may also be issued to any person or corporation not subject to the community tax upon payment of One Peso (P1.00).

Here is a question often asked about the Community Tax Certificate/Cedula: Can a Philippine notary public accept the cedula as proof of identity of the persons who present to the notary public certain documents for notarization?

The answer is NO. Not anymore. Under the provisions of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice (A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC), a Philippine Notary Public is mandated to require “competent evidence of identity” from parties who would like to have some documents (like Special Power of Attorney) notarized. To quote the provisions of Section 12 of Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, as amended by A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC of the Supreme Court dated February 19, 2008:-“Sec. 12. Competent Evidence of Identity.– The phrase "competent evidence of identity" refers to the identification of an individual based on:

“(a) at least one current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph and signature of the individual, such as but not limited to, passport, driver's license, Professional Regulations Commission ID, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, police clearance, postal ID, voter's ID, Barangay certification, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) e-card, Social Security System (SSS) card, Philhealth card, senior citizen card, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID, OFW ID, seaman's book, alien certificate of registration/immigrant certificate of registration, government office ID, certificate from the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP), Department of Social Welfare and Development certification [as amended by A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC dated February 19, 2008]; or (underscoring supplied)

“(b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the instrument, document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public documentary identification.”

This Section 12 Rule II of the Rules on Notarial Practice afore-quoted was applied in the case of Dolores L. Dela Cruz et al. vs Atty. Jose R. Dimaano, Jr. in Case No. A.C. No. 7781, dated September 12, 2008. Finally, the Supreme Court said in this case:

“One last note. Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to discharge with fidelity the duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. It must be remembered that notarization is not a routinary, meaningless act, for notarization converts a private document to a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution. A notarized document is by law entitled to full credit upon its face and it is for this reason that notaries public must observe the basic requirements in notarizing documents. Otherwise, the confidence of the public on notarized documents will be eroded.” (underscoring supplied)

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