BIR confirms demanding P203.8 billion in taxes from Marcos

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) confirmed to the camp of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno that it has sent a written demand to the Marcos heirs regarding their still unpaid P203.8-billion estate tax debt.

Aksyon Demokratiko party chairman Ernest Ramel provided reporters Wednesday a copy of the letter dated March 14 from BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay in response to Moreno camp’s request for an update on the collection of the Marcoses’ tax liabilities.

“The BIR did send a written demand to the Marcos heirs on Dec. 2, 2021 regarding their tax liabilities,” Dulay said.

This means the Marcos tax liabilities did not prescribe under the Duterte administration.

Retired Supreme Court (SC) associate justice Antonio Carpio earlier said the written demand has to be renewed every five years for the debt to be collectable. Moreno’s campaign strategist Lito Banayo said the last written demand was made in 2017.

In an interview in Silay, Negros Occidental where Moreno started his Visayas campaign sorties, the mayor said the Marcos estate tax debt would be waived if the survey frontrunner wins the presidency.

“There is a challenge there. If you don’t demand a payment every five years, that will be waived. If that family is elected and be in power for six years, the P200 billion will be waived,” Moreno said.

In a statement, Ramel said Marcos’ camp lied when his spokesman Vic Rodriguez claimed that the tax debt could not yet be collected because of an agreement to wait for the finality of forfeiture proceedings before the court on the estate.

In 1997, the SC ruled with finality on the estate tax debt when it affirmed a Court of Appeals decision dismissing Marcos’ plea against a 1993 levy and sale on 11 real Tacloban properties meant to satisfy the delinquent tax debt.

The estate tax debt assessed at P23.29 billion had accrued interest and now amounts to P203.819 billion.

“With the BIR letter and the 1997 SC ruling, it is clear now that the camp of Marcos Jr. lied. They are fond of making up stories and inventing their own version of truth,” Ramel said in Filipino.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) also informed the Moreno camp about the falsehood behind Rodriguez’s claim of an agreement with the BIR to suspend the tax collection and wait for an “accurate, fair and just tax base” in computing the liabilities.

The PCGG said the agreement with the BIR in 2003 was only to exclude from the estate tax computation other properties that are sequestered or subject of a recovery case in court.

This means Marcos’ estate tax liabilities should not cover unlawfully acquired properties being claimed by the government.

The government would be able to recover tax claims on these properties once it wins the forfeiture proceedings in court.

“While it is true that… there was a 2003 verbal understanding between the BIR and the PCGG, it may not be accurate to state that the agreement was ‘to determine with accuracy the fair and just tax base to be used in computing estate taxes, if any,’” the PCGG said, quoting Rodriguez’s statement.

“Because as early as 1993, the BIR executed its final assessment when it levied and sold 11 real properties in Tacloban City and as early as 1997, the judgment on the tax case had become final and executory,” it added.

Marcos dismissed as “presumptions” the claim of Moreno’s camp that he has been evading payment of estate tax.

“These are just presumptions, they are not familiar with the cases or they choose not to be familiar with the case so yeah, it’s in the courts,” Marcos said Wednesday during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum when asked to comment on the matter.

Marcos assured the public that he would abide by whatever the court will order in connection with the case.

“Whatever the court orders me to do, I will do,” he said.  –  Edu Punay, Gilbert Bayoran


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