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Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Tax amnesty win-win for gov’t, taxpayers’

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The tax amnesty bill sponsored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara is now only one step away from becoming a law after the Senate ratified on Thursday the bicameral report on the measure generally viewed as a “win-win” for both taxpayers and the government.

The tax amnesty bill grants those who have failed to pay for taxable year 2017 and prior years a one-time opportunity to settle tax obligations, including estate taxes, general taxes and delinquent accounts. 

Through the measure, the government is expected to raise up to P41 billion which will be used to finance crucial infrastructure projects and augment appropriations needed for the social mitigating measures under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law. The P500 million will be used exclusively for establishing tax database.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara

“This is but another step in the long quest toward an efficient and equitable tax system,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee.

As the Lower House ratified the measure on Wednesday, it is now ready for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature to become a law.

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Angara said the bicam panel had agreed to make the tax amnesty bill “pro-taxpayer” that would attract “ordinary citizens who have long wanted to come clean but feared prosecution to finally settle their arrears.”

For general tax amnesty, the bicam panel agreed that taxpayers would be given the option to choose the rate between 2 percent of total assets or 5 percent of net worth or a minimum tax.

“This will give taxpayers more flexibility, which would encourage them more to avail of the amnesty,” Angara said.

Moreover, taxpayers can avail themselves of a reprieve from all estate taxes, and instead pay 6 percent based on the decedent’s total net estate.

“This is a big help to families whose properties for several decades which have remained idle due to non-payment of estate tax—resulting in huge penalties and surcharges while use of assets are not maximized. With the amnesty, heirs can now enjoy the assets that will be freed for development,” Angara said.

The bill also covers an amnesty on delinquencies. 

Taxpayers can avail themselves of 40 percent of the basic tax for delinquencies and assessments which have become final and executory, 50 percent for cases subject of final and executory judgment by the courts, and 60 percent for those subject of pending criminal cases.

Taxpayers will be given a year from the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations to avail of the amnesty, except for estate tax amnesty where taxpayers will be given two years to avail. Discounts will be granted for early availers.

Those who avail of the amnesty program will be immune from payment of all taxes and the filing of civil, criminal, and administrative cases and penalties.

Any information and data provided shall be confidential and shall not be admissible as evidence in any proceeding. 

Also, the books of accounts and other records of the taxpayer for the years covered by the tax amnesty availed of shall not be examined by the BIR.

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