BIR urged to continue efforts vs. P203-B estate tax

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 22, 2022, 2:15 pm

MANILA – Aksyon Demokratiko chair Ernesto Ramel Jr. on Friday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to continue its collection efforts on the PHP203 billion Marcos estate tax which is still unpaid as of now.

In a letter to BIR Commissioner Ceasar R. Dulay, Ramel requested the BIR chief “to immediately and continuously implement collection efforts, whether in a civil or criminal manner of collection, including distraint/garnishment of the bank accounts relating to the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.”

The two-page letter dated April 21 was received by the office of the BIR Commissioner on the same day, the party said in a statement.

It was the third letter sent by the Aksyon Demokratiko chair to the BIR, with the first asking the Commissioner whether his agency has sent a demand letter to the Marcos heirs to which Dulay replied that they sent the demand letter on December 2, 2021.

The demand letter, Ramel said, implies that the estate tax liability of the Marcos estate is not yet fully paid in spite of the enforced assessment and collection remedies applied by the BIR.

The unpaid Marcos estate tax has grown to PHP203 billion due to surcharges and penalties levied by the BIR.

“The executor/administrator/beneficiary/person in actual or constructive possession of any property of the Marcos Estate continuously evade or defeat to pay the estate tax delinquency as required under Section 84 of the old Code (now Sec. 91 of the present Code). Such willful attempts are punishable with fines and imprisonment under Section 254 of the old Code (now Sec. 254 and 255 of the present Code),” Ramel said in a statement.

He added that it is imperative that the BIR exercise its mandate to enforce public contribution (taxes) for the benefit of its citizens, in this case the 110 million Filipino people.

Ramel continued: “The Commissioner is obliged to perform his duties under Sec. 3 of the old Code (Sec. 2 of the present Code), to wit: Sec. 2. Powers and Duties of the Bureau of Internal Revenue Code. -- “xxx xxx xxx its powers and duties shall comprehend the assessment and collection of all internal revenue taxes, fees and charges, xxx xxx xxx and the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties and fines connected therewith, including the execution xxx xxx xxx” He also pointed out that with the use of the word “shall”, “it is therefore obligatory on the part of the BIR to pursue the enforcement of its collection powers and duties, which include the remedy of Section 221 of the old and present Code.”

“The remedy for the enforcement of Statutory Penal Provisions of all sorts shall be by criminal or civil action, as the particular situation may require, subject to the approval of the Commissioner as provided for in Sec. 221 of the old and present Code,” Ramel said.

He said no less than Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, whose department has direct supervision over the BIR, admitted that the estate tax liability remains unpaid until the present time.

“We believe that it is in the best interest of the Filipino People that the taxes to be collected be put into its public use especially in this time of pandemic,” Ramel said.

Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, the Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate, was the one who first brought out the issue of the PHP203 billion Marcos estate tax that has remained unpaid and uncollected despite the demand letters being sent by the BIR to the Marcos family every five years.

If he becomes president, Domagoso has said he will collect the PHP203 billion estate tax and use it as financial assistance and “ayuda” to the 3.5 million Filipinos who lost their jobs at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that started in March 2020.

The case of Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Herminia D. De Guzman, the Supreme Court held that the estate tax assessment against the petitioner (Marcos Jr.) has already become final and unappealable.

On March 9, 1999 and based on the entry of judgment, the Decision of the Supreme Court ordering the Marcos heirs to pay PHP23 billion in estate taxes, became final and executory.

From February to May 1993 and by way of collection of taxes, BIR issued notices of levy on properties of Marcos and sold assets via public auction to satisfy tax liability. (PNA)