Rody at the BIR: Collecting unpaid inheritance tax

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night called the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over its failure to collect some estate tax owed, saying it could help the cash-strapped government fund some of its programs.

In his weekly televised public address, Duterte said there was no need to remind the BIR of its mandate to collect inheritance tax.

“The government can only incite. There is no need for an encore from Malacanang. The BIR is there, so we should ask the BIR why they haven’t collected the inheritance tax yet,” the president said.

Although the president did not name the party involved, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday that the BIR was making every effort to collect unpaid estate taxes from the heirs of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. , which rose from 23 billion pesos in 1997 to about 203 billion pesos today.

But according to Partido Federal ng Pilipinas attorney general George Briones, the Supreme Court ruled irrevocably on the 23 billion pesos in inheritance tax owed by the Marcos, not the rest of the 203 billion pesos that may still be reconciled.

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is running for president under the PFP.

“What is final is the valuation of 23 billion pesos,” Briones said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“What I am saying is that the figure of 203 billion pesos is not definitive because it is still subject to reconciliation,” he added.

The DOF said the estate tax will be an additional source of revenue amid the ongoing oil crisis which has driven up commodity prices.
In a message to reporters, Dominguez said collecting the tax could take time.

“[The] The BIR collects and demands payment from the administrators of the Marcos domain. They didn’t pay. [The] The BIR will continue to consolidate the titles in favor of the government on the properties that have been taken,” said Dominguez, relaying a message from the BIR.

“The procedure can take time because it involves selling at public auction to convert to cash. [The] net profit [is] Marcos takes no action to settle and pay because [of] ongoing litigation,” the message read.

Earlier this month, the DoF said it was pushing the BIR to collect the 203 billion pesos outstanding from Marcos’ heirs to generate more revenue for the government, which will help institutionalize programs to facilitate the life of Filipinos in the midst of the oil crisis.

Deputy Finance Secretary Paola Alvarez said in a TV interview that the DoF wanted the BIR and Customs to not only collect revenue, but also seek sources of revenue.

The BIR, as previously confirmed by the Aksyon Demokratiko party, wrote a formal notice in December 2021 asking the Marcos to pay their inheritance tax.

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier said ‘there is a lot of fake news involved’ in his family’s unpaid property taxes despite the 1997 Supreme Court ruling that they must settle their debts , which initially amounted to 23 billion pesos in 1997.

Retired Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said earlier that the BIR should file a criminal case against the Marcos family for their “deliberate refusal” to pay their estate tax worth 203 billion pesos.

In a briefing, Acting Presidential Spokesman Martin Andanar said the BIR should prosecute everyone who fails to pay their taxes, not just a certain politician, because the government needs additional funds.

Andanar did not say whether the president was referring to Marcos’ estate tax.

Presidential candidate Marcos’ camp has repeatedly rejected calls for his family to settle tax debts and said the case is still pending in court.

But BIR and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) have refuted the allegation, with BIR saying it sent a letter to the Marcos family in December 2021 demanding payment of their tax obligations.

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