By Zaldy De Layola
MANILA – The clock is ticking and the Senate needs to pass an important bill seeking to extend the estate tax amnesty period for two more years.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Rep. Ralph Recto said in a news release on Sunday that his “former classmates can approve what is a simple bill” without having to wait for President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to certify the measure as urgent.
He said that when session resumes on Monday, both chambers of Congress have 12 session days before it adjourns anew by the end of the month.
Under the current estate tax amnesty law, the period to avail of the benefits expires on June 14.
But Recto expressed hopes of an extension “because in legislation, a month is an eternity. Kaya kayang-kaya ipasa (It can be passed).”
“Although tax bills originate from the House, the Senate, in anticipation of House action, can start tackling the bill, so that when the House bill arrives, the Senate version is now primed for floor debates,” he said.
After it hurdled the House Ways and Means Committee, the measure seeking to move the deadline of the estate tax amnesty to June 14, 2025 would then be ready for the plenary debates where its passage is a certainty, he added.
While in the Senate, Recto was among the authors of Republic Act (RA) 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act which erased the penalties and significantly cut the rates for estate tax obligations.
However, the period to avail of the one-time tax relief coincided with the pandemic, prompting Congress to pass what would become RA 11569 which extended the amnesty period by two years or until June 14 this year.
By extending the window of opportunity again by two years, “families will save billions (of pesos) while the government will earn billions,” he said.
Recto said the extension is a “lifeline to a government scrounging for revenues and an act of kindness” to seniors whose vulnerability during the 30 months the pandemic raged prevented them from availing of the amnesty.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayang nasa ibang bansa na nais sanang ayusin ang namanang ari-arian ang hindi makauwi dahil sa matagal at mahigpit na lockdown (Many of our folks abroad wanted to process inherited properties but failed to return home because of extended and strict lockdown),” he said.
Recto hailed the House bill as an improved version of the estate tax amnesty law, as it covers deaths which occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2021, amending the cut off period of Dec. 31, 2017 in RA 11213.
As society opens and restrictions are lifted, people are now free to move around in completing the complex legal requirements in putting a deceased loved one’s estate in order so these can be used for productive purposes, he added.
Recto said if the government had extended “lifelines, bailouts in the billions” to distressed commercial firms during the pandemic, “then why should not the same compassion be extended to families, more so that it won’t cost the government anything?” (PNA)