SENATOR Sonny Angara on Saturday welcomed the swift action taken by the Senate in extending the validity of the law granting amnesty on the payment of real estate taxes.
The author of the Tax Amnesty Act said the law would have become another “COVID casualty” had Senate Bill 2208 not been approved, as family members of deceased property owners would not be able to beat the June 14, 2021 deadline for applying for the tax breaks and other benefits the law grants.
Angara said the pandemic effectively robbed applicants of more than 15 months of valuable transaction time.
“The pandemic is especially hard on seniors who are prevented from going out and overseas Filipinos who could not fly in. Plus, many government offices closed for long periods of time, and when they opened, with fewer personnel,” Angara said.
With the June 14 deadline a few weeks from now, Angara said the extension granted by the Senate would benefit hundreds of thousands of Filipino families.
Senate Bill 2208 sponsored by Committee on Ways and Means Chairperson Sen. Pia Cayetano seeks to extend the filing deadline by two years – to June 14, 2023.
The bill amends Republic Act 11213, or the Tax Amnesty Act, authored by Angara who championed its passage when he was still head of the said Senate tax-writing panel from 2016 to 2019.
RA 11213 slashed the net estate tax to 6 percent from 20 percent, determined as of the time of death of the property’s owner.
The tax to be paid will be computed after generous allowable deductions, such as hospitalization costs. It also writes off penalties and surcharges, “which could be near the value of the estate if the assessed arrears cover a long period of time,” Angara said.
“Pero lahat ng mga ito maglalaho na parang bula kung hindi natin i-e-extend ang nalalapit na June 14 deadline for the filing of the estate tax return,” Angara said.
That must be done, he said, “because a law which eases the pain of death, to really help the loved ones left behind, must be given a new lease in life.”
Like many taxes, collection of estate taxes plummeted during the pandemic, garnering P2.5 billion from an expected P6.3 billion.
“If we extend the filing period, government will be able to raise money the nation badly needs to offset the damages the pandemic has caused,” Angara said.
But most important, Angara said, is that families reeling from the economic slowdown will be able to unlock assets” that will help them ride out this crisis, and when this is over, the means to rebuild their lives.”
“These assets are crucial for the post-pandemic recovery of hard-hit families. And the liberalized rules that free their development and disposition benefits the government with the taxes paid,” Angara explained.
“It will be good for the heirs because they can now enjoy the assets; good for the government because collections will increase; and good for the economy because assets will be freed for development,” he said.