Senate approves tax amnesty bill on final reading

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, November 19, approved Senate Bill No. 2059, which seeks to allow a one-time opportunity to settle tax obligations.

Senate ways and means committee chairman Juan Edgardo Angara said the bill would serve as a "fresh start" for Filipinos.

If passed into law, the bill would grant amnesty on all unpaid internal revenue taxes, including estate, value-added, and excise taxes, in 2017 and previous years.

For estate taxes, taxpayers could avail of a reprieve and pay a rate of 6% based on the total net estate.

For other internal revenue taxes, only 5% of the total net worth, or a minimum of tax depending on the subscribed capital for corporations, would be collected.

"We hope that this measure will encourage those in the formal and non-formal sector to legitimize, properly declare, and pay the correct taxes without fear of civil, criminal, or administrative penalties," Angara said.

"This is our chance to have a fresh start especially in something as important as taxes. As Filipinos seek a government they can trust, let this amnesty serve as another step closer to that end," he added.

In 2016, the Bureau of Internal Revenue collected only P4 billion in estate taxes, or only 0.28% of the agency's total collections of P1.57 trillion.

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

The House of Representatives approved a counterpart measure on Tuesday, November 20. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email