System builder decries blame on E-TRACS

The developer of E-TRACS (Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System) explained that the complaints of taxpayers in Panglao on the wrong tax assessments should not be blamed on the software.

Elmo Nazareno, president of Rameses Systems, Inc.-the software developer of E-TRACS, decried the news report quoting taxpayers and businessmen who complained about questionable computation of taxes through E-TRACS.

Nazareno, however, clarified in his letter to Chronicle that he just wanted to explain the company’s side of the story and had no intention to point fingers at who’s to blame.

“Laying all the blame on E-TRACS for the wrong assessments that transpired in Panglao is a bit unfair and somewhat irresponsible. E-TRACS is also being used by 40 other LGUs (local government units) all over the Philippines and to our knowledge, it is only in Panglao that a wrong assessment has occurred,” Nazareno said.

E-TRACS software has been designed to “make tax assessment process efficient and minimize human intervention that usually breeds corruption”, he added.

Nazareno said he has no complete picture of what actually happened in Panglao because their company “was not directly involved in rolling out E-TRACS in the town.

“Being essentially free, any LGU can install our software and customize it to reflect the provisions and tax assessment formula in the local tax ordinance. Our role is to provide technical assistance and training to these LGUs. But unless they contact us for assistance, we have no way of knowing if they are using the software correctly,” he added.

He said E-TRACS is just “a software or a mere tool” and, like an Excel spreadsheet, its formula can be customized in computing tax assessment.

“This means that if the formula you feed into E-TRACS is erroneous to begin with, the assessment that will come out will also be wrong. As the classic saying goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out’,” Nazareno added.

Nazareno said their software automates real property tax assessment, business licensing, and revenue collections of LGUs. The LGUs get it for free through a grant from AusAID.

“It is my company’s noble response to the yearning by our government and the taxpayers at large to maximize revenue collection by plugging holes in the current system and discouraging abuse by the people who run it,” Nazareno said.

Rameses Systems, Inc. has scheduled the first project sustainability forum on February 3 at the training room of UP-Cebu Technology Business Incubation facility of UP-Lahug campus at Gorordo Avenue , Cebu City , to be attended by representatives of all LGUs that are running E-TRACS.


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