CD: CIR v. Aichi Forging Company of Asia, Inc.

November 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm (2010, Case Digests) (, , )

CIR v. AICHI FORGING COMPANY OF ASIA, INC.
G.R. No. 184823 October 6, 2010
Del Castillo, J.

Doctrine:
– The CIR has 120 days, from the date of the submission of the complete documents within which to grant or deny the claim for refund/credit of input vat. In case of full or partial denial by the CIR, the taxpayer’s recourse is to file an appeal before the CTA within 30 days from receipt of the decision of the CIR. However, if after the 120-day period the CIR fails to act on the application for tax refund/credit, the remedy of the taxpayer is to appeal the inaction of the CIR to CTA within 30 days.

– A taxpayer is entitled to a refund either by authority of a statute expressly granting such right, privilege, or incentive in his favor, or under the principle of solutio indebiti requiring the return of taxes erroneously or illegally collected. In both cases, a taxpayer must prove not only his entitlement to a refund but also his compliance with the procedural due process.

– As between the Civil Code and the Administrative Code of 1987, it is the latter that must prevail being the more recent law, following the legal maxim, Lex posteriori derogat priori.

– The phrase “within two (2) years x x x apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund” under Subsection (A) of Section 112 of the NIRC refers to applications for refund/credit filed with the CIR and not to appeals made to the CTA.

Facts:
Petitioner filed a claim of refund/credit of input vat in relation to its zero-rated sales from July 1, 2002 to September 30, 2002. The CTA 2nd Division partially granted respondent’s claim for refund/credit.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, insisting that the administrative and the judicial claims were filed beyond the two-year period to claim a tax refund/credit provided for under Sections 112(A) and 229 of the NIRC. He reasoned that since the year 2004 was a leap year, the filing of the claim for tax refund/credit on September 30, 2004 was beyond the two-year period, which expired on September 29, 2004. He cited as basis Article 13 of the Civil Code, which provides that when the law speaks of a year, it is equivalent to 365 days. In addition, petitioner argued that the simultaneous filing of the administrative and the judicial claims contravenes Sections 112 and 229 of the NIRC. According to the petitioner, a prior filing of an administrative claim is a “condition precedent” before a judicial claim can be filed.

The CTA denied the MPR thus the case was elevated to the CTA En Banc for review. The decision was affirmed. Thus the case was elevated to the Supreme Court.

Respondent contends that the non-observance of the 120-day period given to the CIR to act on the claim for tax refund/credit in Section 112(D) is not fatal because what is important is that both claims are filed within the two-year prescriptive period. In support thereof, respondent cited Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Victorias Milling Co., Inc. [130 Phil 12 (1968)] where it was ruled that “if the CIR takes time in deciding the claim, and the period of two years is about to end, the suit or proceeding must be started in the CTA before the end of the two-year period without awaiting the decision of the CIR.”

Issues:
1. Whether or not the claim for refund was filed within the prescribed period
2. Whether or not the simultaneous filing of the administrative and the judicial claims contravenes Section 229 of the NIRC, which requires the prior filing of an administrative claim, and violates the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies

Held:
1. Yes. As ruled in the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Mirant Pagbilao Corporation (G.R. No. 172129, September 12, 2008), the two-year period should be reckoned from the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made.

In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Primetown Property Group, Inc (G.R. No. 162155, August 28, 2007, 531 SCRA 436), we said that as between the Civil Code, which provides that a year is equivalent to 365 days, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which states that a year is composed of 12 calendar months, it is the latter that must prevail being the more recent law, following the legal maxim, Lex posteriori derogat priori.

Thus, applying this to the present case, the two-year period to file a claim for tax refund/credit for the period July 1, 2002 to September 30, 2002 expired on September 30, 2004. Hence, respondent’s administrative claim was timely filed.

2. Yes. We find the filing of the judicial claim with the CTA premature.

Section 112(D) of the NIRC clearly provides that the CIR has “120 days, from the date of the submission of the complete documents in support of the application [for tax refund/credit],” within which to grant or deny the claim. In case of full or partial denial by the CIR, the taxpayer’s recourse is to file an appeal before the CTA within 30 days from receipt of the decision of the CIR. However, if after the 120-day period the CIR fails to act on the application for tax refund/credit, the remedy of the taxpayer is to appeal the inaction of the CIR to CTA within 30 days.

Subsection (A) of Section 112 of the NIRC states that “any VAT-registered person, whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated may, within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made, apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund of creditable input tax due or paid attributable to such sales.” The phrase “within two (2) years x x x apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund” refers to applications for refund/credit filed with the CIR and not to appeals made to the CTA.

The case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Victorias Milling, Co., Inc. is inapplicable as the tax provision involved in that case is Section 306, now Section 229 of the NIRC. Section 229 does not apply to refunds/credits of input VAT.

The premature filing of respondent’s claim for refund/credit of input VAT before the CTA warrants a dismissal inasmuch as no jurisdiction was acquired by the CTA.

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CD: JRA Philippines, Inc. v. CIR

October 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm (2010, Case Digests) (, , )

J.R.A. PHILIPPINES, INC. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE
G.R. No. 177127 October 11, 2010
Del Castillo, J.

Doctrine:
The absence of the word “zero rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/refund of input VAT.
Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Courts are bound by prior decisions. Thus, once a case has been decided one way, courts have no choice but to resolve subsequent cases involving the same issue in the same manner.

Facts:
Petitioner, a PEZA Corporation, filed applications for tax credit/refund of unutilized input VAT on its zero-rated sales for the taxable quarters of 2000. The claim for credit/refund, however, remained unacted by the respondent. Hence, petitioner was constrained to file a petition before the CTA.

The CTA eventually denied the petition for lack of the word “zero-rated” on the invoices/receipts.

Issue:
Whether or not the failure to print the word “zero-rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/ refund of input VAT on zero-rated sales

Held:
Yes. The absence of the word “zero rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/refund of input VAT. This has been squarely resolved in Panasonic Communications Imaging Corporation of the Philippines (formerly Matsushita Business Machine Corporation of the Philippines) v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (G.R. No. 178090, 612 SCRA 28, February 8, 2010). In that case, the claim for tax credit/refund was denied for non-compliance with Section 4.108-1 of Revenue Regulations No. 7-95, which requires the word “zero rated” to be printed on the invoices/receipts covering zero-rated sales.

From the abovementioned decision, the Court ruled that the appearance of the word “zero-rated” on the face of invoices covering zero-rated sales prevents buyers from falsely claiming input VAT from their purchases when no VAT was actually paid. If, absent such word, a successful claim for input VAT is made, the government would be refunding money it did not collect.

Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Courts are bound by prior decisions. Thus, once a case has been decided one way, courts have no choice but to resolve subsequent cases involving the same issue in the same manner [Agencia Exquisite of Bohol, Incorporated v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. Nos. 150141, 157359 and 158644, February 12, 2009, 578 SCRA 539, 550].

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CD: Philippine Airlines v. Court of Appeals

September 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm (1990, Case Digests) (, , , , , , )

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. L-49188 January 30, 1990
Gutierrez, Jr., J.

Doctrine:
• The payment to the absconding sheriff by check in his name does not operate as a satisfaction of the judgment debt.

• Since a negotiable instrument is only a substitute for money and not money, the delivery of such an instrument does not, by itself, operate as payment.

• A check, whether a manager’s check or ordinary cheek, is not legal tender, and an offer of a check in payment of a debt is not a valid tender of payment and may be refused receipt by the obligee or creditor. The obligation is not extinguished and remains suspended until the payment by commercial document is actually realized.

• As between two innocent persons, one of whom must suffer the consequence of a breach of trust, the one who made it possible by his act of confidence must bear the loss.

• Execution is for the sheriff to accomplish while satisfaction of the judgment is for the creditor to achieve the implementing officer’s duty should not stop at his receipt of payments but must continue until payment is delivered to the obligor or creditor.

• Laws are to be interpreted by the spirit which vivifies and not by the letter which killeth. Logic has its limits in decision making. We should not follow rulings to their logical extremes if in doing so we arrive at unjust or absurd results.

Facts:
Amelia Tan filed a complaint for damages against petitioner. The Lower Court ruled in her favor. Upon appeal, the CA upheld the decision of the Lower Court with only minor modifications as to the damages to be awarded to Amelia Tan. The corresponding writ of execution was duly referred to Deputy Sheriff Emilio Z. Reyes for enforcement. Checks were in the name of Sheriff Reyes.

Four months later, Amelia Tan moved for the issuance of an alias writ of execution stating that the judgment rendered by the lower court, and affirmed with modification by the Court of Appeals, remained unsatisfied.

Petitioner answered that it has already satisfied its obligation, as evidenced by check vouchers signed and received by Sheriff Reyes. The Court has summoned the sheriff to explain the delay but apparently he absconded or disappeared.

Issue:
1. Whether or not the payment made to the absconding sheriff by check in his name operate to satisfy the judgment debt
2. Whether or not the judgment debtor shall bear the loss for the amount encashed by the absconding sheriff
3. Whether or not execution is the same as satisfaction of judgment

Held:
1. No. In general, a payment, in order to be effective to discharge an obligation, must be made to the proper person. Article 1240 of the Civil Code provides:

Payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the obligation has been constituted, or his successor in interest, or any person authorized to receive it. (Emphasis supplied)

Under ordinary circumstances, payment by the judgment debtor to the sheriff should be valid payment to extinguish the judgment debt. There are circumstances, however, which compel a different conclusion such as when the payment made by the petitioner to the absconding sheriff was not in cash or legal tender but in checks.

Article 1249 of the Civil Code provides:

The payment of debts in money shall be made in the currency stipulated, and if it is not possible to deliver such currency, then in the currency which is legal tender in the Philippines.

The delivery of promissory notes payable to order, or bills of exchange or other mercantile documents shall produce the effect of payment only when they have been cashed, or when through the fault of the creditor they have been impaired.

In the meantime, the action derived from the original obligation shall be held in abeyance.

Consequently, unless authorized to do so by law or by consent of the obligee a public officer has no authority to accept anything other than money in payment of an obligation under a judgment being executed. Strictly speaking, the acceptance by the sheriff of the petitioner’s checks, in the case at bar, does not, per se, operate as a discharge of the judgment debt.

Since a negotiable instrument is only a substitute for money and not money, the delivery of such an instrument does not, by itself, operate as payment (See. 189, Act 2031 on Negs. Insts.; Art. 1249, Civil Code; Bryan Landon Co. v. American Bank, 7 Phil. 255; Tan Sunco v. Santos, 9 Phil. 44; 21 R.C.L. 60, 61). A check, whether a manager’s check or ordinary cheek, is not legal tender, and an offer of a check in payment of a debt is not a valid tender of payment and may be refused receipt by the obligee or creditor. Mere delivery of checks does not discharge the obligation under a judgment. The obligation is not extinguished and remains suspended until the payment by commercial document is actually realized (Art. 1249, Civil Code, par. 3).

2. Yes. PAL created a situation which permitted the said Sheriff to personally encash said checks and misappropriate the proceeds thereof to his exclusive personal benefit. For the prejudice that resulted, the petitioner himself must bear the fault. As between two innocent persons, one of whom must suffer the consequence of a breach of trust, the one who made it possible by his act of confidence must bear the loss. (Blondeau, et al. v. Nano, et al., L-41377, July 26, 1935, 61 Phil. 625).

3. No. Section 15, Rule 39, provides:

Section 15. Execution of money judgments. — The officer must enforce an execution of a money judgment by levying on all the property, real and personal of every name and nature whatsoever, and which may be disposed of for value, of the judgment debtor not exempt from execution, or on a sufficient amount of such property, if they be sufficient, and selling the same, and paying to the judgment creditor, or his attorney, so much of the proceeds as will satisfy the judgment. …

Strictly speaking execution cannot be equated with satisfaction of a judgment.

Execution is for the sheriff to accomplish while satisfaction of the judgment is for the creditor to achieve. Section 15, Rule 39 merely provides the sheriff with his duties as executing officer including delivery of the proceeds of his levy on the debtor’s property to satisfy the judgment debt. It is but to stress that the implementing officer’s duty should not stop at his receipt of payments but must continue until payment is delivered to the obligor or creditor.

Dissenting Opinions:
Narvasa, J.
• If payment had been in cash, no question about its validity or of the authority and duty of the sheriff to accept it in settlement of PAL’s judgment obligation would even have arisen. Simply because it was made by checks issued in the sheriff s name does not warrant reaching any different conclusion.

• As payment to the court discharges the judgment debtor from his responsibility on the judgment, so too must payment to the person designated by such court and authorized to act in its behalf, operate to produce the same effect.

Feliciano, J.
• The failure of a sheriff to effect turnover and his conversion of the funds (or goods) held by him to his own uses, do not have the effect of frustrating payment by and consequent discharge of the judgment debtor.

• A judgment debtor who turns over funds or property to the sheriff can not reasonably be made an insurer of the honesty and integrity of the sheriff.

• It requires no particularly acute mind to note that a dishonest sheriff could easily convert the money and abscond. The fact that the sheriff in the instant case required, not cash to be delivered to him, but rather a check made out in his name, does not change the legal situation. PAL did not thereby become negligent; it did not make the loss anymore possible or probable than if it had instead delivered plain cash to the sheriffs.

• Risk is most appropriately borne not by the judgment debtor, nor indeed by the judgment creditor, but by the State itself.

Padilla, J.
• PAL had every right to assume that, as an officer of the law, Sheriff Reyes would perform his duties as enjoined by law. If a judgment debtor cannot rely on and trust an officer of the law, as the Sheriff, whom else can he trust?

• The duty of the sheriff to pay the cash to the judgment creditor would be a matter separate the distinct from the fact that PAL would have satisfied its judgment obligation to Amelia Tan, the judgment creditor, by delivering the cash amount due under the judgment to Sheriff Reyes.

• When Sheriff Reyes encashed the checks, the encashment was in fact a payment by PAL to Amelia Tan through Sheriff Reyes, an officer of the law authorized to receive payment, and such payment discharged PAL’S obligation under the executed judgment.

• If the PAL cheeks in question had not been encashed by Sheriff Reyes, there would be no payment by PAL.

• The payment of money to the sheriff having an execution satisfies it, and, if the plaintiff fails to receive it, his only remedy is against the officer (Henderson v. Planters’ and Merchants Bank, 59 SO 493, 178 Ala. 420).

• Payment of an execution satisfies it without regard to whether the officer pays it over to the creditor or misapplies it (340, 33 C.J.S. 644, citing Elliot v. Higgins, 83 N.C. 459). If defendant consents to the Sheriff s misapplication of the money, however, defendant is estopped to claim that the debt is satisfied (340, 33 C.J.S. 644, citing Heptinstall v. Medlin 83 N.C. 16).

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CD: Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. YMCA

September 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm (1998, Case Digests) (, , , )

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. YMCA
G.R. No. 124043 October 14, 1998
Panganiban, J.

Doctrine:
Rental income derived by a tax-exempt organization from the lease of its properties, real or personal, is not exempt from income taxation, even if such income is exclusively used for the accomplishment of its objectives.

A claim of statutory exemption from taxation should be manifest and unmistakable from the language of the law on which it is based. Thus, it must expressly be granted in a statute stated in a language too clear to be mistaken. Verba legis non est recedendum — where the law does not distinguish, neither should we.

– The bare allegation alone that one is a non-stock, non-profit educational institution is insufficient to justify its exemption from the payment of income tax. It must prove with substantial evidence that (1) it falls under the classification non-stock, non-profit educational institution; and (2) the income it seeks to be exempted from taxation is used actually, directly, and exclusively for educational purposes.

– The Court cannot change the law or bend it to suit its sympathies and appreciations. Otherwise, it would be overspilling its role and invading the realm of legislation. The Court, given its limited constitutional authority, cannot rule on the wisdom or propriety of legislation. That prerogative belongs to the political departments of government.

Facts:
Private Respondent YMCA is a non-stock, non-profit institution, which conducts various programs and activities that are beneficial to the public, especially the young people, pursuant to its religious, educational and charitable objectives.

YMCA earned income from leasing out a portion of its premises to small shop owners, like restaurants and canteen operators, and from parking fees collected from non-members. Petitioner issued an assessment to private respondent for deficiency taxes. Private respondent formally protested the assessment. In reply, the CIR denied the claims of YMCA.

Issue:
Whether or not the income derived from rentals of real property owned by YMCA subject to income tax

Held:
Yes. Income of whatever kind and character of non-stock non-profit organizations from any of their properties, real or personal, or from any of their activities conducted for profit, regardless of the disposition made of such income, shall be subject to the tax imposed under the NIRC.

Rental income derived by a tax-exempt organization from the lease of its properties, real or personal, is not exempt from income taxation, even if such income is exclusively used for the accomplishment of its objectives.

Because taxes are the lifeblood of the nation, the Court has always applied the doctrine of strict in interpretation in construing tax exemptions (Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Appeals, 271 SCRA 605, 613, April 18, 1997). Furthermore, a claim of statutory exemption from taxation should be manifest and unmistakable from the language of the law on which it is based. Thus, the claimed exemption “must expressly be granted in a statute stated in a language too clear to be mistaken” (Davao Gulf Lumber Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue and Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117359, p. 15 July 23, 1998).

Verba legis non est recedendum. The law does not make a distinction. The rental income is taxable regardless of whence such income is derived and how it is used or disposed of. Where the law does not distinguish, neither should we.

Private respondent also invokes Article XIV, Section 4, par. 3 of the Constitution, claiming that it “is a non-stock, non-profit educational institution whose revenues and assets are used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes so it is exempt from taxes on its properties and income.” This is without merit since the exemption provided lies on the payment of property tax, and not on the income tax on the rentals of its property. The bare allegation alone that one is a non-stock, non-profit educational institution is insufficient to justify its exemption from the payment of income tax.

For the YMCA to be granted the exemption it claims under the above provision, it must prove with substantial evidence that (1) it falls under the classification non-stock, non-profit educational institution; and (2) the income it seeks to be exempted from taxation is used actually, directly, and exclusively for educational purposes. Unfortunately for respondent, the Court noted that not a scintilla of evidence was submitted to prove that it met the said requisites.

The Court appreciates the nobility of respondent’s cause. However, the Court’s power and function are limited merely to applying the law fairly and objectively. It cannot change the law or bend it to suit its sympathies and appreciations. Otherwise, it would be overspilling its role and invading the realm of legislation. The Court regrets that, given its limited constitutional authority, it cannot rule on the wisdom or propriety of legislation. That prerogative belongs to the political departments of government.

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