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Incoming tax chief vows to collect Marcos estate tax


INCOMING tax bureau chief Lilia C. Guillermo on Wednesday said she would enforce the collection of the unpaid estate tax of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, as ordered by the courts.

“I have not seen any documents about it,” she told the ABS-CBN News Channel. “If that’s final and executory, then it is our mandate to collect.”

The unpaid estate tax was worth P23 billion in 1997 and had ballooned to more than P200 billion due to interests and other fees, according to former Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio.

Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., the son of the late dictator, won the May 9 presidential election by a landslide and will start his single six-year term on June 30.

In December, the tax agency sent a written demand to the Marcos family to settle the tax.

The court-approved heirs of Mr. Marcos are his widow Imelda and his only son, Marcos Jr. who is popularly known as “Bongbong.”

Ms. Guillermo said she had not discussed the matter with Mr. Marcos, who tapped her to head of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Marcoses have remained mum on the issue.

“I don’t know if that’s really P200 billion, and maybe if that’s really the amount, imagine it will really help collections of BIR,” Ms. Guillermo said.

Estate tax is a tax “on the right of the deceased person to transmit his/her estate to his/her lawful heirs and beneficiaries at the time of death and on certain transfers,” according to the BIR. “It is not a tax on property.”

The incoming BIR chief said the Marcoses would become “role models” if their unpaid estate tax was settled.

“In the event I have to collect or BIR has to collect, I will say this is the amount,” she said. “‘Can you be a role model?’”

“But I should have the correct data, I should know what really is in that decision,” she added. “I will explain it to him.”

Ms. Guillermo, who had served at the BIR for decades, heads the Philippine central bank’s technology and digital innovation office.

She vowed to push the digitalization of the BIR to improve collection. She noted that 97% of tax collections come from voluntary payments, while only 3% are paid after investigations.

“We will make it easy for taxpayers,” said Ms. Guillermo, who promised to hire big data scientists and make her decisions data-driven.

She also said she would ensure that social media influencers pay the right taxes. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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