House approves measure extending estate tax amnesty on 3rd reading

THE House of Representatives approved on third reading on Monday a bill extending an estate tax amnesty for another two years beyond its expiry in mid-June.

In a Monday plenary session, 259 legislators voted yes to House Bill (HB) No. 7909, with zero opposed or abstaining. The bill seeks to extend the estate tax amnesty deadline to June 14, 2025.

If passed into law, the measure would represent the second extension of the estate tax amnesty under Republic Act (RA) No. 11213, which initially ran from 2019 to June 14, 2021. RA 11569, which was passed by the previous Congress, had extended the amnesty period by two years to June 14, 2023.

HB 7909 is a substitute bill to HB 7409, which was originally co-authored by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos, Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose M. Dalipe and TINGOG party-list representatives Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Jude A. Acidre.

The bill also seeks to extend the coverage of the availment of estate tax amnesty for those who died on or before Dec. 31 2017, to Dec. 31, 2021, amending section 4 of RA 11213.

The law currently allows taxpayers a one-time opportunity to settle unpaid tax obligations covering estates of those who died on or before Dec. 31, 2017. A 6% tax rate is imposed on each decedent’s total net taxable estate at the time of death without penalty.

“An extension of the estate tax amnesty program would allow more families to take advantage of the program to… settle outstanding estate taxes at an affordable 6% flat rate, in turn freeing up their assets and providing financial relief to families who were struggling in the wake of the pandemic,” Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna V. Vergara said during the bill’s second reading approval last week.

Ms. Vergara added that finalized estate tax cases, which includes properties involved in court cases like those under the jurisdiction of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, or those involving graft and corruption, money laundering, and other crimes under the tax code, will not be affected by the proposed amnesty.

Similar measures in the Senate are pending at the committee level.

During an April 25 Ways and Means Committee Meeting, Bureau of Internal Revenue Assistant Commissioner Maria Luisa I. Belen said that it had set a P6-billion collection target from the estate tax amnesty.

She said that a total of 133,860 taxpayers have availed of the amnesty from 2019 to present, generating P7.4 billion for the government. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz