The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a bill extending the availment period for estate tax amnesty to four years to allow taxpayers to cope with the economic hardships brought by the COVID 19 pandemic.

220719 congress 03 alvin kasiban - House approves measure extending estate tax amnesty period to 4 years
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

With 209 affirmative and zero negative votes, House Bill 7068 hurdled final reading approval and will now await for the passage of the Senate version.

Authored by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez HB 7068 will amend Republic Act No. 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act of 2019 that granted a two-year availment period for the estate tax amnesty.

Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez (Tinggog Partylist) and Wilter Plama II (Lakas-CMD, Zamboanga Sigubay) co-authored the measure.

Under the bill, instead of a two-year availment period of the amnesty offer, it will be extended to four years.

HB 7068 provides that the four-year period of availment of amnesty will start as soon as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law is approved.

The one-time tax relief may be granted to the executor or administrator of an estate or in their absence, the legal heirs, transfrees, or beneficiaries.

RA 11213 grants a one-time opportunity for estate administrators to settle estate tax obligations that they failed to pay on or prior to December 31, 2017.

It provides that taxpayers who avail of the estate tax amnesty enjoy immunity from the payment of estate taxes, civil, criminal, and administrative cases and penalties.

Failure to avail of the estate tax amnesty will allow the government to impose the applicable penalties and surcharges for unpaid estate taxes. Expenses for the transfer of the estate will also be costly.

In pushing for passage of the measure, authors noted that the current amnesty availment will soon expire with many estate executors, usually heirs of the deceased estate owners, still unable to avail of the tax reprieve.

“It is just unfortunate that the Philippines is not spared by the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein many people lost their jobs and folded up their businesses. Most economic activities were stalled,” authors said in the explanatory notes of the bill.

The economic hardship has made it even more difficult for people to pay for the estate taxes.

“This drawback may take some time to recover, and while the COVID-19 pandemic still persists people will have extreme difficulty in paying their taxes, much more in settling their estate tax dues even with the tax amnesty program,” said proponents of the measure.

They stressed that by extending the availment period for amnesty, executors or administrators of estate may be allowed ample time to “recoup their resources and get back on their feet so they can still apply and pay their estate tax dues.”

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