During the Encomienda System of the Spanish Era, there was no real property tax in the Philippines. Taxes on land were levied primarily on the male tenant of 16-60 years old as personal taxes or tributes rather than the land taxes. They were paid in the form of agricultural products for the privilege to work on the land of the Encomiendas.


It was in 1901; under the American Regime that Real Property Taxation in the Philippines was formally instituted. Act. No. 82 of the Philippine Commission organized the Municipal Government, while Act No. 83 organized the Provincial Government. These laws authorized the Municipality and the Province to levy taxes on real properties of which became the primary source of locally –generated revenues. Likewise, Provincial and Municipal Board of Assessors were created under the same law in each province and Municipality. The Municipal Board was charged with the assessing of real properties for taxation purposes while the Provincial Board was authorized to levy an annual tax on the assessed value of the real property. The same Act also charged the Provincial treasurer for the supervision of real property assessments and tax collection.


All the laws on assessment and taxation were later enacted, compiled and incorporated in the Administrative Code of 1916 under the Jones Law.


It was on December 5, 1932, that Act No. 3995 was passed, which in effect repealed, compiled and incorporated into a single body all existing laws relating to the assessment and collection of real property taxes.


Considering the significance of this law the Department of the Interior for the City of Zamboanga enacted Ordinance No. 2 on February 27, 1937, creating the Department of Assessment and position of City Assessor in the City Government of Zamboanga.


Then in July 1939, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act. 470; repealing Act. No. 3995. This continued as the assessment law until the birth of the New Society in 1972 when President Marcos initiated reforms and issued Presidential Decree Nos. 25 and 76.


Accordingly, the Decree continued to be the governing law relative to Real Property Taxation until the year 1991 wherein Republic Act No. 7160; otherwise known as the Local Government Code has integrated the said decree in the process.


(Manual on Real Property Appraisal and Assessment Operations)