Marcos urges Filipinos to pay correct taxes as BIR vows to run after tax evaders

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2023 04:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2023 05:50 PM

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday encouraged Filipinos to pay the correct taxes critical to the government, just as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) promised to go after tax evaders. 

Speaking during the agency's tax campaign kickoff for this year, Marcos said taxes are important to revive the pandemic-battered economy. 

"I encourage the public to pay the correct amount of taxes on time to support the country's economic recovery and expansion so critical in this time," Marcos said. 

"It is my confidence that you will continue to cooperate, collaborate, and coordinate with the government on how to improve the experience of our tax collection system," he added. 

The President also lauded the efforts of the bureau in digitalizing transactions and intensifying the crackdown on tax evaders and those who violated the tax code. 

For his part, BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui, Jr. said their enforcement activities will continue against those who continue to dodge their taxes. 

It was important, Lumagui said, that his agency forms a culture "in which taxpayers feel that the tax authority is on their side."

"Against tax evaders: we will not stop with our hardline stance. We will not hesitate to prosecute erring taxpayers," said the BIR chief.

"We will continue to go after illicit traders. We will charge producers and users of fake receipts," he added. 

The BIR's activities, Lumagui noted, include bolstering operations to gather "a huge pot of uncollected taxes which escaped the public through fraud or illegal activities."

On December 2021, the BIR sent a demand letter to the Marcoses to pay their estate tax dues which has ballooned from about P23 billion in 1997 to P203 billion. 

Marcos Jr. and his mother, Imelda, are co-administrators of the estate left by the Marcos patriarch who died in Hawaii on Sept. 29, 1989. 

A Supreme Court ruling showed that the Marcoses' estate tax assessment of P23 billion became "final and executory" in March 1999.

The President had said his family's P203-billion unpaid estate taxes should be "opened," noting that they were not allowed to argue on this. 

His former spokesman in April claimed their case is still being litigated even as the Supreme Court has already issued a final ruling decades ago.