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BIR assessing Marcos estate’s tax liabilities as Enrile scoffs at critics

It is up to the Bureau of the Internal Revenue (BIR) to determine the amount of estate tax liabilities that should be settled by the heirs of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Tuesday.

“We have been in intense discussion with the BIR on this issue and they are studying it very carefully,” Dominguez said at the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Briefing held at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Asked if the estimate of P203 billion in estate tax liabilities was correct, Dominguez said “that is for the BIR to determine.”

“There are several amounts that have been floated… there was P9 billion, which became P23 billion, and because of penalties and interest they said it is around P203 billion,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said that based on his understanding, the tax collecting agency was trying to cut through all the issues “in order to do the job.”

In a previous statement, Dominguez said the BIR has demanded payment from the Marcos estate administrators. He said the BIR will continue to consolidate the titles in favor of the government on those properties which have been levied upon.

“The procedure may take time as it involves selling at public auction to convert to cash,” he said.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said the BIR should be asked why it had yet to collect a “certain estate tax due,” although he did not specifically mention the Marcos estate.

“In our taxation, the government can only prod… The BIR is there, let’s ask them why the estate tax remains unpaid,” Duterte said during the weekly Talk to the People program.

In the middle of March, the DOF said it was pushing the BIR to collect the unpaid P203 billion in estate taxes from the Marcos estate to generate much-needed revenue for the government.

Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez said in a television interview that DOF wanted the BIR and the Customs not only to collect revenue but also look for sources of revenue.

The BIR, as previously confirmed by the Aksyon Demokratiko Party, wrote a demand letter in December 2021 asking the Marcoses to pay their estate taxes.

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

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said the BIR should file a criminal case against the Marcos family over their “willful refusal” to pay their estate tax liability worth P203 billion.

An ally of the Marcos family, however, dismissed talk of the estate tax liabilities as politically motivated heading into the elections, where Marcos is the frontrunner for the position of president.

Former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile said he was willing to offer his services for free as the family lawyer to prove that critics “were all ignorant of taxation laws and do not Know what they were talking about.

The camp of presidential frontrunner Marcos Jr. on Tuesday denounced what it described as “continuing falsehood” on the issue of the estate tax due to the government.

“Our political adversary is again painting the town yellow with his usual falsehood, lies, hatred and black propaganda,” said lawyer Vic Rodriguez, spokesman and chief of staff of Marcos.

“In GR. No 120880, the very case cited by our hateful critics, they conveniently omitted to mention that the Bureau of Internal Revenue have issued a total of thirty (30) Notices of Levy, resorted to public sale of levied properties and there being no bidder, lots subject of the public sale was declared forfeited in favor of the government in satisfaction of the estate tax due,” Rodriguez stressed.

As held in this case by the Supreme Court, Rodriguez stressed that in the case of notices of levy issued to satisfy the delinquent estate tax, “the delinquent taxpayer is the Estate of the decedent, not necessarily, and exclusively Bongbong Marcos as heir of the deceased.”

“Mindful that cases are still pending in court, truth however must be told, peddlers of lies unmasked; negative and hateful campaigning be stopped,” Rodriguez said.

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