CD: Philippine Bank of Communications v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

September 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm (1999, Case Digests) (, )

PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS v. CIR
G.R. No. 112024 January 28, 1999
Quisumbing, J.

Doctrine:
– Any excess of the total quarterly payments over the actual income tax computed in the adjustment or final corporate income tax return, shall either (a) be refunded to the corporation, or (b) may be credited against the estimated quarterly income tax liabilities for the quarters of the succeeding taxable year.

The corporation must signify in its annual corporate adjustment return (by marking the option box provided in the BIR form) its intention, whether to request for a refund or claim for an automatic tax credit for the succeeding taxable year. To ease the administration of tax collection, these remedies are in the alternative, and the choice of one precludes the other.

– Basic is the principle that “taxes are the lifeblood of the nation.” Due process of law under the Constitution does not require judicial proceedings in tax cases. This must necessarily be so because it is upon taxation that the government chiefly relies to obtain the means to carry on its operations and it is of utmost importance that the modes adopted to enforce the collection of taxes levied should be summary and interfered with as little as possible.

– A memorandum-circular of a bureau head could not operate to vest a taxpayer with shield against judicial action for there are no vested rights to speak of respecting a wrong construction of the law.

Facts:
Petitioner reported a net loss in 1986 and thus declared no tax payable. On 1987, petitioner requested the respondent, among others, for a tax credit representing the overpayment of taxes in the first and second quarters of 1985.

Thereafter, petitioner filed a claim for refund of creditable taxes withheld by their lessees from property rentals in 1985 and in 1986. Pending investigation, petitioner instituted a Petition for Review before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).

CTA denied the request of petitioner for a tax refund or credit for 1985 on the ground that it was filed beyond the two-year reglementary period provided for by law. The petitioner’s claim for refund in 1986 was likewise denied on the assumption that it was automatically credited by PBCom against its tax payment in the succeeding year. MR was denied.

CA affirmed the decision in toto hence this petition.

Petitioner argues that the government is barred from asserting a position contrary to its declared circular if it would result to injustice to taxpayers. Citing ABS CBN Broadcasting Corporation vs. Court of Tax Appeals (1981), petitioner claims that rulings or circulars promulgated by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue have no retroactive effect if it would be prejudicial to taxpayers.

Respondent argues that the two-year prescriptive period for filing tax cases in court concerning income tax payments of Corporations is reckoned from the date of filing the Final Adjusted Income Tax Return, which is generally done on April 15 following the close of the calendar year. Further, respondent Commissioner stresses that when the petitioner filed the case before the CTA on November 18, 1988, the same was filed beyond the time fixed by law, and such failure is fatal to petitioner’s cause of action.

Issue:
Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in denying the plea for tax refund or tax credits on the ground of prescription

Held:
No. The rule states that the taxpayer may file a claim for refund or credit with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, within two (2) years after payment of tax, before any suit in CTA is commenced. The two-year prescriptive period provided, should be computed from the time of filing the Adjustment Return and final payment of the tax for the year.

Basic is the principle that “taxes are the lifeblood of the nation.” Due process of law under the Constitution does not require judicial proceedings in tax cases. This must necessarily be so because it is upon taxation that the government chiefly relies to obtain the means to carry on its operations and it is of utmost importance that the modes adopted to enforce the collection of taxes levied should be summary and interfered with as little as possible.

From the same perspective, claims for refund or tax credit should be exercised within the time fixed by law because the BIR being an administrative body enforced to collect taxes, its functions should not be unduly delayed or hampered by incidental matters.

Any excess of the total quarterly payments over the actual income tax computed in the adjustment or final corporate income tax return, shall either (a) be refunded to the corporation, or (b) may be credited against the estimated quarterly income tax liabilities for the quarters of the succeeding taxable year.

The corporation must signify in its annual corporate adjustment return (by marking the option box provided in the BIR form) its intention, whether to request for a refund or claim for an automatic tax credit for the succeeding taxable year. To ease the administration of tax collection, these remedies are in the alternative, and the choice of one precludes the other.

A memorandum-circular of a bureau head could not operate to vest a taxpayer with shield against judicial action. For there are no vested rights to speak of respecting a wrong construction of the law by the administrative officials and such wrong interpretation could not place the Government in estoppel to correct or overrule the same [Tan Guan vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 19 SCRA 903 (1967)].

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