BIR freezes Iggy’s bank accounts
Manila — The squabbling heirs of the late Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo may have to wait awhile before they could divide his estate.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue yesterday said it had “reminded” several banks to temporarily put on hold any transactions on the accounts under the name of Arroyo until his family settles the 30-percent estate tax to the government.
The heirs have three weeks left to file the necessary papers with tax authorities, according to Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim S. Henares.
“There is no need to have the accounts frozen because by operation of law, once a bank account holder dies, nobody is allowed to withdraw from such funds,” she explained, downplaying insinuations that politics was behind the BIR’s move. “The heirs cannot do anything (with the accounts) until they file the returns.”
Henares, a certified public accountant and lawyer, also said the BIR has not made any move regarding Arroyo’s bank accounts since the prescribed period has not lapsed.
Arroyo, 61, who died of complications due to cirrhosis of the liver on Jan. 26 in London, reportedly left a huge fortune.
Arroyo had been accused of merely acting as a dummy of his brother Jose Miguel and the latter’s wife, detained former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Henares said the tax bureau has yet to ascertain Arroyo’s actual assets, saying the BIR had requested a copy of his latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth to determine his gross estate.
“Actually, even if we did not write to the banks, they already know that. Because if they allow to move (Arroyo’s) assets without tax clearance, they will have criminal liability. It’s an automatic provision of the law,” she said.
“Our (letter) is just an additional reminder that they have an obligation not to release the deposits and other assets of a deceased person without clearance from the BIR,” she added. /INQUIRER