That Marcos estate tax issue
There’s no doubt that one of the most serious issues against the Marcoses in this election season is their unpaid estate tax. Originally amounting to P23.29 billion, it has now ballooned to P203.82 billion, inclusive of interests and penalties. The Marcos camp argues that there is nothing final on this issue, while Marcos critics insist that the Supreme Court ruling on it has long been final and executory.
It appears, then, that the high tribunal should be able to resolve this controversy. But only at first glance. Because, fortunately or unfortunately, under our system of government, the Supreme Court is not like the legendary Muhammad who can go down the mountain anytime to resolve a problem below.
There is reason to believe that the primary bone of contention here is whether the controversial P23.29 billion estate tax was assessed based on the value of assets and real properties that the Marcos heirs had actually inherited from the elder Marcos, or whether the tax base used was inclusive of the so-called ill-gotten wealth already sequestered and eventually forfeited in favor of the government.
That said, may I offer a simple way to determine the truth behind this issue?
Consider this: the estate tax, also called inheritance tax, is six percent of the value of the inherited assets and payable to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Simple arithmetic easily tells us that the Marcos heirs had inherited some P388.2 billion worth of assets which, needless to say, must now be under their possession. On the other hand, there is another kind of estate tax, otherwise called real property tax. This is payable to the municipality, city, or province where the assets or real properties are located.
Plain common sense should tell us that though computed at different tax rates and certain other considerations, the estate or inheritance tax and the estate or real property tax must be based essentially on the same list of assets and properties. (Essentially because the taxpayer may have assets other than those inherited). Otherwise, something must be wrong, In turn, this clarification should be enough to enlighten the electorate on the truth or myth behind this issue.
RODOLFO L. CORONEL,
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