HOUSE Ways and Means Chairman Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” S. Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says he expects that Congress will ratify the estate tax amnesty extension measure before Congress adjourns sine die on June 3, now that “the Senate will move for bicameral conference [bicam] next week.”
“We are already discussing at least the outline of [bicam] proceedings. The Senate has introduced some new provisions to the House version,” Salceda said. “So we will see whether we can adopt these provisions or whether a [bicam] committee is necessary.”
The lawmaker added that “so far, the provisions introduced in the Senate version do not appear to be averse to the point of the Estate Tax Amnesty extension.”
“They want some mechanism for electronic filing. That’s acceptable—even welcome,” Salceda said. “As long as we see third-reading approval by the Senate on May 29 or before that, we will be able to send this to [President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.] for his signature; and he can announce this as another win during [his] SONA [State of the Nation Address].”
SALCEDA also said there is a possibility that the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes (EOPT) Act could be enacted or ratified before the day of the SONA.
“Slim chance; but best effort on our part. I think we can go over the differences on the last week of session and, hopefully, ratify it on the morning session of SONA,” the lawmaker said. The Senate has already completed its committee report on the proposed EOPT Act.
Salceda added that lawmakers have resolved “the most essential differences there anyway: the problem of bad debts.”
“We have made our position clear to our Senate counterparts that, given stakeholder concerns, we are alright with a provision for aged or bad receivables,” the solon said. “That works for us.”
Salceda was referring to the shift to invoices from receipts under the proposed EOPT Act. Stakeholders have raised the concern that since some invoices are not actually paid for by buyers, the seller will be forced to pay value-added tax (VAT) on bad or aged receivables.
“With a provision for writing those receivables off, I think we have agreement,” the lawmaker said.
SALCEDA added that the House might consider introducing provisions in the proposed EOPT Act against tax racketeering or the use of fake receipts for tax evasion.
“Of course, our counterparts in the Senate have to concur,” he said. “I think that’s alright especially since we also tackle provisions under the same Tax Code section for both bills. Anyway, we’re looking into it.”
Salceda said that Marcos “made it clear he wants tax administration reforms in his first SONA.”
“I hope we will have the biggest tax administration reform in decades enacted before his second SONA,” the lawmaker said. “We’ll try.”
The proposed EOPT Act (House Bill 4125) was approved on its third and final reading during the 19th Congress on September 26, 2022, with a vote of 250 “yes,” zero “no” and zero abstention.