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DOF: Government is intent on collecting all tax liabilities

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
DOF: Government is intent on collecting all tax liabilities
This undated file photo shows Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
KJ Rosales / File

MANILA, Philippines — By hook or by crook, the government will collect all taxes due, including those that the Marcos family owes to the state, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Tuesday.

Dominguez was commenting on a Manila Bulletin report quoting anonymous officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as saying that the Marcos heirs could not be compelled to pay their P203-billion estate tax due. The finance chief was also reacting to a statement from former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile defending the Marcoses.

"Neither are official statements of the BIR," Dominguez said in a Viber message. "The DOF (Department of Finance) and the BIR are intent on collecting ALL (sic) taxes due.”

The finance chief’s remarks were one of the Duterte administration’s clearest rebukes of claims absolving the Marcos family of their estate tax liabilities.

It’s an issue that has been hounding the campaign of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whose own income tax convictions set off a slew of petitions challenging his eligibility to run for public office.

Quoting unnamed BIR "regional directors and district officers… nationwide", Manila Bulletin reported that "the estate tax is levied on real and personal properties of a dead person and not on the assets owned by his relatives."

Meanwhile, Enrile, the late dictator’s defense minister who later defected in the waning days of the Marcos administration, pretty much made the same argument as the BIR officials quoted by Manila Bulletin. He then challenged the critics of the Marcoses to file a case against the family.

Dominguez: Collection may take time

Last week, Dominguez said the BIR is "collecting and demanded payment" from the Marcos estate administrators.

But Dominguez admitted that collecting these unpaid taxes "may take time", adding that the Marcos family "does not take steps to settle and pay because pending litigation."

In a statement also on Tuesday, former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio explained that "(u)nder the Tax Code and the Revenue Regulations, the co-administrators of the Marcos Estate, Imelda Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, as well as the other heirs of Marcos Sr., are expressly made liable to pay the estate tax.”

"The Supreme Court, in its Entry of Judgment in GR No. 120880, declared that the  estate tax liability of the Marcos estate became ‘final and executory’ as of March 9,  1999," Carpio said.

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