Marcos estate tax case pending? Ruling 'final, executory,' SC document shows

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2022 06:52 PM

Former first lady Imelda Marcos and family ABS-CBN News/File 
Former first lady Imelda Marcos and family pose for pictures with supporters during the hosting of her 90th birthday by the Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos (FIRM) held at the Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium in Manila on July 1, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — A Supreme Court ruling on the estate tax liability of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's family is already "final and executory," according to a document from the tribunal, contrary to his camp's claim that the case was still being litigated. 

Marcos spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez claimed over the weekend that the tax debt, which has ballooned to P203 billion, was "all about politics" and is ”still pending in court." 

However, a Supreme Court document shows that its June 5, 1997 ruling on the issue became "final and executory" on March 9, 1999. 

The ruling denied Marcos' bid to challenge the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assessment of P23 billion in estate taxes and its levy of his family's 11 parcels of land as payment for the liability. 

That liability has since ballooned to P203 billion due to penalties and interests.

The SC noted that Marcos failed to file an administrative protest within 30 days from service of the tax assessments.

His father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, died in Hawaii on Sept. 29, 1989. 

The former President's heirs failed to file an estate tax return. The BIR, in 1991, caused the filing of estate tax returns and issued deficiency tax assessments which were served on former first lady Imelda Marcos. 

“The deficiency tax assessments were not protested administratively, by Mrs. Marcos and the other heirs of the late president, within 30 days from service of said assessments,” the high court said.

“Apart from failing to file the required estate tax return within the time required for the filing of the same, petitioner, and the other heirs never questioned the assessments served upon them, allowing the same to lapse into finality, and prompting the BIR to collect the said taxes by levying upon the properties left by President Marcos,” it added.

The Marcos camp has raised the issue of the pendency of court cases to justify non-payment of estate taxes. 

But the SC, in the same case, called this a "last ditch effort" to assail the tax assessment which already became "final and unappealable."
This meant that the 1997 SC ruling on the Marcos estate tax may be enforced by BIR. 

President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped speech on Tuesday questioned why the BIR had yet to collect a certain estate tax debt, which he did not specify. 

“BIR is collecting and demanded payment from the Marcos Estate Administrators. They have not paid," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said earlier Wednesday. 

"BIR will continue to consolidate the titles in favor of the government on those properties which have been levied upon," he said in a text message. 

The P23-billion basic estate tax liability was due within one year. Failure to settle this within the said period resulted in a 20-percent interest rate per annum, former BIR Commissioner Kim Henares recently said. 

Acting Palace spokesperson Martin Andanar said Duterte's statement was to remind the BIR "to act on its mandate—and that is to collect taxes."

The Marcos family's estate tax liabilities was first raised by the camp of Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet Isko Moreno Domagoso.

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