A measure extending the deadline of the estate tax amnesty for another two years hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved House Bill 7409, which would extend the period of availing estate tax amnesty from June 15, 2023 to June 14, 2025.

The authors of the bill are Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, and Tingog Party-list Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

Romualdez said the proposed extension would alleviate the burden of those who would want to avail of the amnesty but are still transitioning from financial difficulties to post-pandemic recovery.

“While this country is now taking steps to heal from the pandemic-driven recession, challenges remain for Filipinos to achieve full and equitable recovery, especially with the emergence of high inflation. Families with unsettled estate taxes still struggled to comply with the documentary requirements and failed to benefit from the substantial decrease in tax liabilities provided under RA (Republic Act) 11213,” Romualdez said.

RA 11213 grants taxpayers a one-time opportunity to settle estate tax obligations through an estate tax amnesty program that gives reasonable tax relief to estates with outstanding estate tax liabilities.

Romualdez said through this bill, those with unsettled or unpaid estate taxes could clear themselves of their obligations, transfer the property to the rightful heirs, and at the same time, help the government increase its tax collections.

In his opening remarks, committee chair Joey Salceda said the pandemic has hampered the settlement of estates, which is “inherently challenged by family sensitivities.”

Salceda said the committee would be studying steps to optimize the second tax amnesty extension proposal, such as simplifying the filing procedure, including the option to do it online, opening assistance centers in local governments, and other steps to address the non-tax barriers to expeditiously settling cases.

He said an Estate Tax Amnesty helpline could also be created by the Bureau of Internal Revenue to provide filing support for indigent families and smaller estates.

“I sincerely hope this will be the last time we extend RA 11213 because it defeats the purpose of tax compliance if violations will always be forgiven,” he said. (PNA)