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G.R. No. L-31364 March 30, 1979MISAEL P. VERA, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and JAIME ARANETA, as Regional Director, Revenue Region No. 14, Bureau of Internal Revenue,petitioners,vs.HON. JOSE F. FERNANDEZ, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V, and FRANCIS A. TONGOY, Administrator of the Estate of the late LUIS D. TONGOYrespondents.DE CASTRO,J.:Appeal from two orders of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V in Special Proceedings No. 7794, entitled: "Intestate Estate of Luis D. Tongoy," the first dated July 29, 1969 dismissing the Motion for Allowance of Claim and for an Order of Payment of Taxes by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines against the Estate of the late Luis D. Tongoy, for deficiency income taxes for the years 1963 and 1964 of the decedent in the total amount of P3,254.80, inclusive 5% surcharge, 1% monthly interest and compromise penalties, and the second, dated October 7, 1969, denying the Motion for reconsideration of the Order of dismissal.The Motion for allowance of claim and for payment of taxes dated May 28, 1969 was filed on June 3, 1969 in the abovementioned special proceedings, (par. 3, Annex A, Petition, pp. 1920, Rollo). The claim represents the indebtedness to the Government of the late Luis D. Tongoy for deficiency income taxes in the total sum of P3,254.80 as above stated, covered by Assessment Notices Nos. 11-50-29-1-11061-21-63 and 11-50-291-1 10875-64, to which motion was attached Proof of Claim (Annex B, Petition, pp. 21-22, Rollo). The Administrator opposed the motion solely on the ground that the claim was barred under Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court (par. 4, Opposition to Motion for Allowance of Claim, pp. 23-24, Rollo). Finding the opposition well-founded, the respondent Judge, Jose F. Fernandez, dismissed the motion for allowance of claim filed by herein petitioner, Regional Director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in an order dated July 29, 1969 (Annex D, Petition, p. 26, Rollo). On September 18, 1969, a motion for reconsideration was filed, of the order of July 29, 1969, but was denied in an Order dated October 7, 1969.Hence, this appeal on certiorari, petitioner assigning the following errors:1. The lower court erred in holding that the claim for taxes by the government against the estate of Luis D. Tongoy was filed beyond the period provided in Section 2, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.2. The lower court erred in holding that the claim for taxes of the government was already barred under Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.which raise the sole issue of whether or not the statute of non-claims Section 5, Rule 86 of the New Rule of Court, bars claim of the government for unpaid taxes, still within the period of limitation prescribed in Section 331 and 332 of the National Internal Revenue Code.Section 5, Rule 86, as invoked by the respondent Administrator in hid Oppositions to the Motion for Allowance of Claim, etc. of the petitioners reads as follows:All claims for money against the decedent, arising from contracts, express or implied, whether the same be due, not due, or contingent, all claims for funeral expenses and expenses for the last sickness of the decedent, and judgment for money against the decedent, must be filed within the time limited in they notice; otherwise they are barred forever, except that they may be set forth as counter claims in any action that the executor or administrator may bring against the claimants. Where the executor or administrator commence an action, or prosecutes an action already commenced by the deceased in his lifetime, the debtor may set forth may answer the claims he has against the decedents, instead of presenting them independently to the court has herein provided, and mutual claims may be set off against each other in such action; and in final judgment is rendered in favored of the decedent, the amount to determined shall be considered the true balance against the estate, as though the claim has been presented directly before the court in the administration proceedings. Claims not yet due, or contingent may be approved at their present value.A perusal of the aforequoted provisions shows that it makes no mention of claims for monetary obligation of the decedent created by law, such as taxes which is entirely of different character from the claims expressly enumerated therein, such as: "all claims for money against the decedent arising from contract, express or implied, whether the same be due, not due or contingent, all claim for funeral expenses and expenses for the last sickness of the decedent and judgment for money against the decedent." Under the familiar rule of statutory construction ofexpressio unius est exclusio alterius,the mention of one thing implies the exclusion of another thing not mentioned. Thus, if a statute enumerates the things upon which it is to operate, everything else must necessarily, and by implication be excluded from its operation and effect (Crawford, Statutory Construction, pp. 334-335).In the case ofCommissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Ilagan Electric & Ice Plant, et al., G.R. No. L-23081, December 30, 1969, it was held that the assessment, collection and recovery of taxes, as well as the matter of prescription thereof are governed by the provisions of the National Internal revenue Code, particularly Sections 331 and 332 thereof, and not by other provisions of law. (See also Lim Tio, Dy Heng and Dee Jue vs. Court of Tax Appeals & Collector of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. L-10681, March 29, 1958). Even without being specifically mentioned, the provisions of Section 2 of Rule 86 of the Rules of Court may reasonably be presumed to have been also in the mind of the Court as not affecting the aforecited Section of the National Internal Revenue Code.In the case ofPineda vs. CFI of Tayabas,52 Phil. 803, it was even more pointedly held that "taxes assessed against the estate of a deceased person ... need not be submitted to the committee on claims in the ordinary course of administration. In the exercise of its control over the administrator, the court may direct the payment of such taxes upon motion showing that the taxes have been assessed against the estate." The abolition of the Committee on Claims does not alter the basic ruling laid down giving exception to the claim for taxes from being filed as the other claims mentioned in the Rule should be filed before the Court. Claims for taxes may be collected even after the distribution of the decedent's estate among his heirs who shall be liable therefor in proportion of their share in the inheritance. (Government of the Philippines vs. Pamintuan, 55 Phil. 13).The reason for the more liberal treatment of claims for taxes against a decedent's estate in the form of exception from the application of the statute of non-claims, is not hard to find. Taxes are the lifeblood of the Government and their prompt and certain availability are imperious need. (Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Pineda, G. R. No. L-22734, September 15, 1967, 21 SCRA 105). Upon taxation depends the Government ability to serve the people for whose benefit taxes are collected. To safeguard such interest, neglect or omission of government officials entrusted with the collection of taxes should not be allowed to bring harm or detriment to the people, in the same manner as private persons may be made to suffer individually on account of his own negligence, the presumption being that they take good care of their personal affairs. This should not hold true to government officials with respect to matters not of their own personal concern. This is the philosophy behind the government's exception, as a general rule, from the operation of the principle of estoppel. (Republic vs. Caballero, L-27437, September 30, 1977, 79 SCRA 177; Manila Lodge No. 761, Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, L-41001, September 30, 1976, 73 SCRA 162; Sy vs. Central Bank of the Philippines, L-41480, April 30,1976, 70 SCRA 571; Balmaceda vs. Corominas & Co., Inc., 66 SCRA 553; Auyong Hian vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 59 SCRA 110; Republic vs. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., 66 SCRA 553; Republic vs. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, L-18841, January 27, 1969, 26 SCRA 620; Zamora vs. Court of Tax Appeals, L-23272, November 26, 1970, 36 SCRA 77; E. Rodriguez, Inc. vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, L- 23041, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 119.) As already shown, taxes may be collected even after the distribution of the estate of the decedent among his heirs (Government of the Philippines vs. Pamintuan,supra; Pineda vs. CFI of Tayabas,supraClara Diluangco Palanca vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G. R. No. L-16661, January 31, 1962).Furthermore, as held in Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Pineda, supra, citing the last paragraph of Section 315 of the Tax Code payment of income tax shall be a lien in favor of the Government of the Philippines from the time the assessment was made by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue until paid with interests, penalties, etc. By virtue of such lien, this court held that the property of the estate already in the hands of an heir or transferee may be subject to the payment of the tax due the estate.A fortioribefore the inheritance has passed to the heirs, the unpaid taxes due the decedent may be collected, even without its having been presented under Section 2 of Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. It may truly be said that until the property of the estate of the decedent has vested in the heirs, the decedent, represented by his estate, continues as if he were still alive, subject to the payment of such taxes as would be collectible from the estate even after his death. Thus in the case above cited, the income taxes sought to be collected were due from the estate, for the three years 1946, 1947 and 1948 following his death in May, 1945.Even assumingarguendothat claims for taxes have to be filed within the time prescribed in Section 2, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court, the claim in question may be filed even after the expiration of the time originally fixed therein, as may be gleaned from the italicized portion of the Rule herein cited which reads:Section 2. Time within which claims shall be filed. - In the notice provided in the preceding section, the court shall state the time for the filing of claims against the estate, which shall not be more than twelve (12) nor less than six (6) months after the date of the first publication of the notice.However, at any time before an order of distribution is entered, on application of a creditor who has failed to file his claim within the time previously limited the court may, for cause shown and on such terms as are equitable, allow such claim to be flied within a time not exceeding one (1) month.(Emphasis supplied)In the instant case, petitioners filed an application (Motion for Allowance of Claim and for an Order of Payment of Taxes) which, though filed after the expiration of the time previously limited but before an order of the distribution is entered, should have been granted by the respondent court, in the absence of any valid ground, as none was shown, justifying denial of the motion, specially considering that it was for allowance Of claim for taxes due from the estate, which in effect represents a claim of the people at large, the only reason given for the denial that the claim was filed out of the previously limited period, sustaining thereby private respondents' contention, erroneously as has been demonstrated.WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reverse. Since the Tax Commissioner's assessment in the total amount of P3,254.80 with 5 % surcharge and 1 % monthly interest as provided in the Tax Code is a final one and the respondent estate's sole defense of prescription has been herein overruled, the Motion for Allowance of Claim is herein granted and respondent estate is ordered to pay and discharge the same, subject only to the limitation of the interest collectible thereon as provided by the Tax Code. No pronouncement as to costs.SO ORDERED.
G.R. Nos. L-49839-46 April 26, 1991JOSE B. L. REYES and EDMUNDO A. REYES,petitioners,vs.PEDRO ALMANZOR, VICENTE ABAD SANTOS, JOSE ROO, in their capacities as appointed and Acting Members of the CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS; TERESITA H. NOBLEJAS, ROMULO M. DEL ROSARIO, RAUL C. FLORES, in their capacities as appointed and Acting Members of the BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS of Manila; and NICOLAS CATIIL in his capacity as City Assessor of Manila,respondents.Barcelona, Perlas, Joven & Academia Law Offices for petitioners.
PARAS,J.:This is a petition for review oncertiorarito reverse the June 10, 1977 decision of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals1in CBAA Cases Nos. 72-79 entitled "J.B.L. Reyes, Edmundo Reyes, et al. v. Board of Assessment Appeals of Manila and City Assessor of Manila" which affirmed the March 29, 1976 decision of the Board of Tax Assessment Appeals2in BTAA Cases Nos. 614, 614-A-J, 615, 615-A, B, E, "Jose Reyes, et al. v. City Assessor of Manila" and "Edmundo Reyes and Milagros Reyes v. City Assessor of Manila" upholding the classification and assessments made by the City Assessor of Manila.The facts of the case are as follows:Petitioners J.B.L. Reyes, Edmundo and Milagros Reyes are owners of parcels of land situated in Tondo and Sta. Cruz Districts, City of Manila, which are leased and entirely occupied as dwelling sites by tenants. Said tenants were paying monthly rentals not exceeding three hundred pesos (P300.00) in July, 1971. On July 14, 1971, the National Legislature enacted Republic Act No. 6359 prohibiting for one year from its effectivity, an increase in monthly rentals of dwelling units or of lands on which another's dwelling is located, where such rentals do not exceed three hundred pesos (P300.00) a month but allowing an increase in rent by not more than 10% thereafter. The said Act also suspended paragraph (1) of Article 1673 of the Civil Code for two years from its effectivity thereby disallowing the ejectment of lessees upon the expiration of the usual legal period of lease. On October 12, 1972, Presidential Decree No. 20 amended R.A. No. 6359 by making absolute the prohibition to increase monthly rentals below P300.00 and by indefinitely suspending the aforementioned provision of the Civil Code, excepting leases with a definite period. Consequently, the Reyeses, petitioners herein, were precluded from raising the rentals and from ejecting the tenants. In 1973, respondent City Assessor of Manila re-classified and reassessed the value of the subject properties based on the schedule of market values duly reviewed by the Secretary of Finance. The revision, as expected, entailed an increase in the corresponding tax rates prompting petitioners to file a Memorandum of Disagreement with the Board of Tax Assessment Appeals. They averred that the reassessments made were "excessive, unwarranted, inequitable, confiscatory and unconstitutional" considering that the taxes imposed upon them greatly exceeded the annual income derived from their properties. They argued that the income approach should have been used in determining the land values instead of the comparable sales approach which the City Assessor adopted (Rollo, pp. 9-10-A). The Board of Tax Assessment Appeals, however, considered the assessments valid, holding thus:WHEREFORE, and considering that the appellants have failed to submit concrete evidence which could overcome the presumptive regularity of the classification and assessments appear to be in accordance with the base schedule of market values and of the base schedule of building unit values, as approved by the Secretary of Finance, the cases should be, as they are hereby, upheld.SO ORDERED. (Decision of the Board of Tax Assessment Appeals,Rollo, p. 22).The Reyeses appealed to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals.1wphi1They submitted, among others, the summary of the yearly rentals to show the income derived from the properties. Respondent City Assessor, on the other hand, submitted three (3) deeds of sale showing the different market values of the real property situated in the same vicinity where the subject properties of petitioners are located. To better appreciate the locational and physical features of the land, the Board of Hearing Commissioners conducted an ocular inspection with the presence of two representatives of the City Assessor prior to the healing of the case. Neither the owners nor their authorized representatives were present during the said ocular inspection despite proper notices served them. It was found that certain parcels of land were below street level and were affected by the tides (Rollo, pp. 24-25).On June 10, 1977, the Central Board of Assessment Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:WHEREFORE, the appealed decision insofar as the valuation and assessment of the lots covered by Tax Declaration Nos. (5835) PD-5847, (5839), (5831) PD-5844 and PD-3824 is affirmed.For the lots covered by Tax Declaration Nos. (1430) PD-1432, PD-1509, 146 and (1) PD-266, the appealed Decision is modified by allowing a 20% reduction in their respective market values and applying therein the assessment level of 30% to arrive at the corresponding assessed value.SO ORDERED. (Decision of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals,Rollo, p. 27)Petitioner's subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied, hence, this petition.The Reyeses assigned the following error:THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN ADOPTING THE "COMPARABLE SALES APPROACH" METHOD IN FIXING THE ASSESSED VALUE OF APPELLANTS' PROPERTIES.The petition is impressed with merit.The crux of the controversy is in the method used in tax assessment of the properties in question. Petitioners maintain that the "Income Approach" method would have been more realistic for in disregarding the effect of the restrictions imposed by P.D. 20 on the market value of the properties affected, respondent Assessor of the City of Manila unlawfully and unjustifiably set increased new assessed values at levels so high and successive that the resulting annual real estate taxes would admittedly exceed the sum total of the yearly rentals paid or payable by the dweller tenants under P.D. 20. Hence, petitioners protested against the levels of the values assigned to their properties as revised and increased on the ground that they were arbitrarily excessive, unwarranted, inequitable, confiscatory and unconstitutional (Rollo, p. 10-A).On the other hand, while respondent Board of Tax Assessment Appeals admits in its decision that the income approach is used in determining land values in some vicinities, it maintains that when income is affected by some sort of price control, the same is rejected in the consideration and study of land values as in the case of properties affected by the Rent Control Law for they do not project the true market value in the open market (Rollo, p. 21). Thus, respondents opted instead for the "Comparable Sales Approach" on the ground that the value estimate of the properties predicated upon prices paid in actual, market transactions would be a uniform and a more credible standards to use especially in case of mass appraisal of properties (Ibid.). Otherwise stated, public respondents would have this Court completely ignore the effects of the restrictions of P.D. No. 20 on the market value of properties within its coverage. In any event, it is unquestionable that both the "Comparable Sales Approach" and the "Income Approach" are generally acceptable methods of appraisal for taxation purposes (The Law on Transfer and Business Taxation by Hector S. De Leon, 1988 Edition). However, it is conceded that the propriety of one as against the other would of course depend on several factors. Hence, as early as 1923 in the case of Army & Navy Club, Manila v. Wenceslao Trinidad, G.R. No. 19297 (44 Phil. 383), it has been stressed that the assessors, in finding the value of the property, have to consider all the circumstances and elements of value and must exercise a prudent discretion in reaching conclusions.Under Art. VIII, Sec. 17 (1) of the 1973 Constitution, then enforced, the rule of taxation must not only be uniform, but must also be equitable and progressive.Uniformity has been defined as that principle by which all taxable articles or kinds of property of the same class shall be taxed at the same rate (Churchill v. Concepcion, 34 Phil. 969 ).Notably in the 1935 Constitution, there was no mention of the equitable or progressive aspects of taxation required in the 1973 Charter (Fernando "The Constitution of the Philippines", p. 221, Second Edition). Thus, the need to examine closely and determine the specific mandate of the Constitution.Taxation is said to be equitable when its burden falls on those better able to pay. Taxation is progressive when its rate goes up depending on the resources of the person affected (Ibid.).The power to tax "is an attribute of sovereignty". In fact, it is the strongest of all the powers of government. But for all its plenitude the power to tax is not unconfined as there are restrictions. Adversely effecting as it does property rights, both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution may properly be invoked to invalidate in appropriate cases a revenue measure. If it were otherwise, there would be truth to the 1903 dictum of Chief Justice Marshall that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." The web or unreality spun from Marshall's famous dictum was brushed away by one stroke of Mr. Justice Holmes pen, thus: "The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits. So it is in the Philippines " (Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, 130 SCRA 655 ; Obillos, Jr. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 139 SCRA 439 ).In the same vein, the due process clause may be invoked where a taxing statute is so arbitrary that it finds no support in the Constitution. An obvious example is where it can be shown to amount to confiscation of property. That would be a clear abuse of power (Sison v. Ancheta,supra).The taxing power has the authority to make a reasonable and natural classification for purposes of taxation but the government's act must not be prompted by a spirit of hostility, or at the very least discrimination that finds no support in reason. It suffices then that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not being different both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed (Ibid., p. 662).Finally under the Real Property Tax Code (P.D. 464 as amended), it is declared that the first Fundamental Principle to guide the appraisal and assessment of real property for taxation purposes is that the property must be "appraised at its current and fair market value."By no strength of the imagination can the market value of properties covered by P.D. No. 20 be equated with the market value of properties not so covered. The former has naturally a much lesser market value in view of the rental restrictions.Ironically, in the case at bar, not even the factors determinant of the assessed value of subject properties under the "comparable sales approach" were presented by the public respondents, namely: (1) that the sale must represent abonafidearm's length transaction between a willing seller and a willing buyer and (2) the property must be comparable property (Rollo, p. 27). Nothing can justify or support their view as it is of judicial notice that for properties covered by P.D. 20 especially during the time in question, there were hardly any willing buyers. As a general rule, there were no takers so that there can be no reasonable basis for the conclusion that these properties were comparable with other residential properties not burdened by P.D. 20. Neither can the given circumstances be nonchalantly dismissed by public respondents as imposed under distressed conditions clearly implying that the same were merely temporary in character. At this point in time, the falsity of such premises cannot be more convincingly demonstrated by the fact that the law has existed for around twenty (20) years with no end to it in sight.Verily, taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance. However, such collection should be made in accordance with law as any arbitrariness will negate the very reason for government itself It is therefore necessary to reconcile the apparently conflicting interests of the authorities and the taxpayers so that the real purpose of taxations, which is the promotion of the common good, may be achieved (Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Algue Inc., et al., 158 SCRA 9 ). Consequently, it stands to reason that petitioners who are burdened by the government by its Rental Freezing Laws (then R.A. No. 6359 and P.D. 20) under the principle of social justice should not now be penalized by the same government by the imposition of excessive taxes petitioners can ill afford and eventually result in the forfeiture of their properties.By the public respondents' own computation the assessment by income approach would amount to only P10.00 per sq. meter at the time in question.PREMISES CONSIDERED, (a) the petition is GRANTED; (b) the assailed decisions of public respondents are REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and (e) the respondent Board of Assessment Appeals of Manila and the City Assessor of Manila are ordered to make a new assessment by the income approach method to guarantee a fairer and more realistic basis of computation (Rollo, p. 71).SO ORDERED.Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-7859December 22, 1955WALTER LUTZ, as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of the deceased Antonio Jayme Ledesma,plaintiff-appellant,vs.J. ANTONIO ARANETA, as the Collector of Internal Revenue,defendant-appellee.Ernesto J. Gonzaga for appellant.Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, First Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Felicisimo R. Rosete for appellee.REYES, J.B L.,J.:This case was initiated in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental to test the legality of the taxes imposed by Commonwealth Act No. 567, otherwise known as the Sugar Adjustment Act.Promulgated in 1940, the law in question opens (section 1) with a declaration of emergency, due to the threat to our industry by the imminent imposition of export taxes upon sugar as provided in the Tydings-McDuffe Act, and the "eventual loss of its preferential position in the United States market"; wherefore, the national policy was expressed "to obtain a readjustment of the benefits derived from the sugar industry by the component elements thereof" and "to stabilize the sugar industry so as to prepare it for the eventuality of the loss of its preferential position in the United States market and the imposition of the export taxes."In section 2, Commonwealth Act 567 provides for an increase of the existing tax on the manufacture of sugar, on a graduated basis, on each picul of sugar manufactured; while section 3 levies on owners or persons in control of lands devoted to the cultivation of sugar cane and ceded to others for a consideration, on lease or otherwise a tax equivalent to the difference between the money value of the rental or consideration collected and the amount representing 12 per centum of the assessed value of such land.According to section 6 of the law SEC. 6. All collections made under this Act shall accrue to a special fund in the Philippine Treasury, to be known as the 'Sugar Adjustment and Stabilization Fund,' and shall be paid out only for any or all of the following purposes or to attain any or all of the following objectives, as may be provided by law.First, to place the sugar industry in a position to maintain itself, despite the gradual loss of the preferntial position of the Philippine sugar in the United States market, and ultimately to insure its continued existence notwithstanding the loss of that market and the consequent necessity of meeting competition in the free markets of the world;Second, to readjust the benefits derived from the sugar industry by all of the component elements thereof the mill, the landowner, the planter of the sugar cane, and the laborers in the factory and in the field so that all might continue profitably to engage therein;lawphi1.netThird, to limit the production of sugar to areas more economically suited to the production thereof; andFourth, to afford labor employed in the industry a living wage and to improve their living and working conditions: Provided, That the President of the Philippines may, until the adjourment of the next regular session of the National Assembly, make the necessary disbursements from the fund herein created (1) for the establishment and operation of sugar experiment station or stations and the undertaking of researchers (a) to increase the recoveries of the centrifugal sugar factories with the view of reducing manufacturing costs, (b) to produce and propagate higher yielding varieties of sugar cane more adaptable to different district conditions in the Philippines, (c) to lower the costs of raising sugar cane, (d) to improve the buying quality of denatured alcohol from molasses for motor fuel, (e) to determine the possibility of utilizing the other by-products of the industry, (f) to determine what crop or crops are suitable for rotation and for the utilization of excess cane lands, and (g) on other problems the solution of which would help rehabilitate and stabilize the industry, and (2) for the improvement of living and working conditions in sugar mills and sugar plantations, authorizing him to organize the necessary agency or agencies to take charge of the expenditure and allocation of said funds to carry out the purpose hereinbefore enumerated, and, likewise, authorizing the disbursement from the fund herein created of the necessary amount or amounts needed for salaries, wages, travelling expenses, equipment, and other sundry expenses of said agency or agencies.Plaintiff, Walter Lutz, in his capacity as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of Antonio Jayme Ledesma, seeks to recover from the Collector of Internal Revenue the sum of P14,666.40 paid by the estate as taxes, under section 3 of the Act, for the crop years 1948-1949 and 1949-1950; alleging that such tax is unconstitutional and void, being levied for the aid and support of the sugar industry exclusively, which in plaintiff's opinion is not a public purpose for which a tax may be constitutioally levied. The action having been dismissed by the Court of First Instance, the plaintifs appealed the case directly to this Court (Judiciary Act, section 17).The basic defect in the plaintiff's position is his assumption that the tax provided for in Commonwealth Act No. 567 is a pure exercise of the taxing power. Analysis of the Act, and particularly of section 6 (heretofore quoted in full), will show that the tax is levied with a regulatory purpose, to provide means for the rehabilitation and stabilization of the threatened sugar industry. In other words, the act is primarily an exercise of the police power.This Court can take judicial notice of the fact that sugar production is one of the great industries of our nation, sugar occupying a leading position among its export products; that it gives employment to thousands of laborers in fields and factories; that it is a great source of the state's wealth, is one of the important sources of foreign exchange needed by our government, and is thus pivotal in the plans of a regime committed to a policy of currency stability. Its promotion, protection and advancement, therefore redounds greatly to the general welfare. Hence it was competent for the legislature to find that the general welfare demanded that the sugar industry should be stabilized in turn; and in the wide field of its police power, the lawmaking body could provide that the distribution of benefits therefrom be readjusted among its components to enable it to resist the added strain of the increase in taxes that it had to sustain (Sligh vs. Kirkwood, 237 U. S. 52, 59 L. Ed. 835; Johnson vs. State ex rel. Marey, 99 Fla. 1311, 128 So. 853; Maxcy Inc. vs. Mayo, 103 Fla. 552, 139 So. 121).As stated in Johnson vs. State ex rel. Marey, with reference to the citrus industry in Florida The protection of a large industry constituting one of the great sources of the state's wealth and therefore directly or indirectly affecting the welfare of so great a portion of the population of the State is affected to such an extent by public interests as to be within the police power of the sovereign. (128 Sp. 857).Once it is conceded, as it must, that the protection and promotion of the sugar industry is a matter of public concern, it follows that the Legislature may determine within reasonable bounds what is necessary for its protection and expedient for its promotion. Here, the legislative discretion must be allowed fully play, subject only to the test of reasonableness; and it is not contended that the means provided in section 6 of the law (above quoted) bear no relation to the objective pursued or are oppressive in character. If objective and methods are alike constitutionally valid, no reason is seen why the state may not levy taxes to raise funds for their prosecution and attainment. Taxation may be made the implement of the state's police power (Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. vs. Grosjean, 301 U. S. 412, 81 L. Ed. 1193; U. S. vs. Butler, 297 U. S. 1, 80 L. Ed. 477; M'Culloch vs. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 4 L. Ed. 579).That the tax to be levied should burden the sugar producers themselves can hardly be a ground of complaint; indeed, it appears rational that the tax be obtained precisely from those who are to be benefited from the expenditure of the funds derived from it. At any rate, it is inherent in the power to tax that a state be free to select the subjects of taxation, and it has been repeatedly held that "inequalities which result from a singling out of one particular class for taxation, or exemption infringe no constitutional limitation" (Carmichael vs. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U. S. 495, 81 L. Ed. 1245, citing numerous authorities, at p. 1251).From the point of view we have taken it appears of no moment that the funds raised under the Sugar Stabilization Act, now in question, should be exclusively spent in aid of the sugar industry, since it is that very enterprise that is being protected. It may be that other industries are also in need of similar protection; that the legislature is not required by the Constitution to adhere to a policy of "all or none." As ruled in Minnesota ex rel. Pearson vs. Probate Court, 309 U. S. 270, 84 L. Ed. 744, "if the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be overthrown because there are other instances to which it might have been applied;" and that "the legislative authority, exerted within its proper field, need not embrace all the evils within its reach" (N. L. R. B. vs. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. 301 U. S. 1, 81 L. Ed. 893).Even from the standpoint that the Act is a pure tax measure, it cannot be said that the devotion of tax money to experimental stations to seek increase of efficiency in sugar production, utilization of by-products and solution of allied problems, as well as to the improvements of living and working conditions in sugar mills or plantations, without any part of such money being channeled directly to private persons, constitutes expenditure of tax money for private purposes, (compare Everson vs. Board of Education, 91 L. Ed. 472, 168 ALR 1392, 1400).The decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellant. So ordered.Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-4817 May 26, 1954SILVESTER M. PUNSALAN, ET AL.,plaintiffs-appellants,vs.THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF THE CITY OF MANILA, ET AL.,defendants-appellants.Calanog and Alafriz for plaintiffs-appellants.City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Assistant Fiscal Eulogio S. Serreno for defendants-appellants.REYES,J.:This suit was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by two lawyers, a medical practitioner, a public accountant, a dental surgeon and a pharmacist, purportedly "in their own behalf and in behalf of other professionals practising in the City of Manila who may desire to join it." Object of the suit is the annulment of Ordinance No. 3398 of the City of Manila together with the provision of the Manila charter authorizing it and the refund of taxes collected under the ordinance but paid under protest.The ordinance in question, which was approved by the municipal board of the City of Manila on July 25, 1950, imposes a municipal occupation tax on persons exercising various professions in the city and penalizes non-payment of the tax "by a fine of not more than two hundred pesos or by imprisonment of not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court." Among the professions taxed were those to which plaintiffs belong. The ordinance was enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of section 18 of the Revised Charter of the City of Manila (as amended by Republic Act No. 409), which empowers the Municipal Board of said city to impose a municipal occupation tax, not to exceed P50per annum, on persons engaged in the various professions above referred to.Having already paid their occupation tax under section 201 of the National Internal Revenue Code, plaintiffs, upon being required to pay the additional tax prescribed in the ordinance, paid the same under protest and then brought the present suit for the purpose already stated. The lower court upheld the validity of the provision of law authorizing the enactment of the ordinance but declared the ordinance itself illegal and void on the ground that the penalty there in provided for non-payment of the tax was not legally authorized. From this decision both parties appealed to this Court, and the only question they have presented for our determination is whether this ruling is correct or not, for though the decision is silent on the refund of taxes paid plaintiffs make no assignment of error on this point.To begin with defendants' appeal, we find that the lower court was in error in saying that the imposition of the penalty provided for in the ordinance was without the authority of law. The last paragraph (kk) of the very section that authorizes the enactment of this tax ordinance (section 18 of the Manila Charter) in express terms also empowers the Municipal Board"to fix penalties for the violation of ordinances which shall not exceed to(sic) two hundred pesos fine or six months" imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment, for a single offense."Hence, the pronouncement below that the ordinance in question is illegal and void because it imposes a penalty not authorized by law is clearly without basis.As to plaintiffs' appeal, the contention in substance is that this ordinance and the law authorizing it constitute class legislation, are unjust and oppressive, and authorize what amounts to double taxation.In raising the hue and cry of "class legislation", the burden of plaintiffs' complaint is not that the professions to which they respectively belong have been singled out for the imposition of this municipal occupation tax; and in any event, the Legislature may, in its discretion, select what occupations shall be taxed, and in the exercise of that discretion it may tax all, or it may select for taxation certain classes and leave the others untaxed. (Cooley on Taxation, Vol. 4, 4th ed., pp. 3393-3395.) Plaintiffs' complaint is that while the law has authorized the City of Manila to impose the said tax, it has withheld that authority from other chartered cities, not to mention municipalities. We do not think it is for the courts to judge what particular cities or municipalities should be empowered to impose occupation taxes in addition to those imposed by the National Government. That matter is peculiarly within the domain of the political departments and the courts would do well not to encroach upon it. Moreover, as the seat of the National Government and with a population and volume of trade many times that of any other Philippine city or municipality, Manila, no doubt, offers a more lucrative field for the practice of the professions, so that it is but fair that the professionals in Manila be made to pay a higher occupation tax than their brethren in the provinces.Plaintiffs brand the ordinance unjust and oppressive because they say that it creates discrimination within a class in that while professionals with offices in Manila have to pay the tax, outsiders who have no offices in the city but practice their profession therein are not subject to the tax. Plaintiffs make a distinction that is not found in the ordinance. The ordinance imposes the tax upon every person "exercising" or "pursuing" in the City of Manila naturally any one of the occupations named, but does not say that such person must have his office in Manila. What constitutes exercise or pursuit of a profession in the city is a matter of judicial determination. The argument against double taxation may not be invoked where one tax is imposed by the state and the other is imposed by the city (1 Cooley on Taxation, 4th ed., p. 492), it being widely recognized that there is nothing inherently obnoxious in the requirement that license fees or taxes be exacted with respect to the same occupation, calling or activity by both the state and the political subdivisions thereof. (51 Am. Jur., 341.)In view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is reversed in so far as it declares Ordinance No. 3398 of the City of Manila illegal and void and affirmed in so far as it holds the validity of the provision of the Manila charter authorizing it. With costs against plaintiffs-appellants.Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
Separate OpinionsPARAS,C.J.,dissenting:I am constrained to dissent from the decision of the majority upon the ground that the Municipal Board of Manila cannot outlaw what Congress of the Philippines has already authorized. The plaintiffs-appellants two lawyers, a physician, an accountant, a dentist and a pharmacist had already paid the occupation tax under section 201 of the National Internal Revenue Code and are thereby duly licensed to practice their respective professions throughout the Philippines; and yet they had been required to pay another occupation tax under Ordinance No. 3398 for practising in the City of Manila. This is a glaring example of contradiction the license granted by the National Government is in effect withdrawn by the City in case of non-payment of the tax under the ordinance. I fit be argued that the national occupation tax is collected to allow the professional residing in Manila to pursue his calling in other places in the Philippines, it should then be exacted only from professionals practising simultaneously in and outside of Manila. At any rate, we are confronted with the following situation: Whereas the professionals elsewhere pay only one occupation tax, in the City of Manila they have to pay two, although all are on equal footing insofar as opportunities for earning money out of their pursuits are concerned. The statement that practice in Manila is more lucrative than in the provinces, may be true perhaps with reference only to a limited few, but certainly not to the general mass of practitioners in any field. Again, provincial residents who have occasional or isolated practice in Manila may have to pay the city tax. This obvious discrimination or lack of uniformity cannot be brushed aside or justified by any trite pronouncement that double taxation is legitimate or that legislation may validly affect certain classes.My position is that a professional who has paid the occupation tax under the National Internal Revenue Code should be allowed to practice in Manila even without paying the similar tax imposed by Ordinance No. 3398. The City cannot give what said professional already has. I would not say that this Ordinance, enacted by the Municipal Board pursuant to paragraph 1 of section 18 of the Revised Charter of Manila, as amended by Republic Act No. 409, empowering the Board to impose a municipal occupation tax not to exceed P50 per annum, is invalid; but that only one tax, either under the Internal Revenue Code or under Ordinance No. 3398, should be imposed upon a practitioner in Manila.
G.R. No. L-18994 June 29, 1963MELECIO R. DOMINGO, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue,petitioner,vs.HON. LORENZO C. GARLITOS, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte,and SIMEONA K. PRICE, as Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of the late Walter Scott Price,respondents.Office of the Solicitor General and Atty. G. H. Mantolino for petitioner.Benedicto and Martinez for respondents.LABRADOR,J.:This is a petition forcertiorariandmandamusagainst the Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, Ron. Lorenzo C. Garlitos, presiding, seeking to annul certain orders of the court and for an order in this Court directing the respondent court below to execute the judgment in favor of the Government against the estate of Walter Scott Price for internal revenue taxes.It appears that in Melecio R. Domingo vs. Hon. Judge S. C. Moscoso, G.R. No. L-14674, January 30, 1960, this Court declared as final and executory the order for the payment by the estate of the estate and inheritance taxes, charges and penalties, amounting to P40,058.55, issued by the Court of First Instance of Leyte in, special proceedings No. 14 entitled "In the matter of the Intestate Estate of the Late Walter Scott Price." In order to enforce the claims against the estate the fiscal presented a petition dated June 21, 1961, to the court below for the execution of the judgment. The petition was, however, denied by the court which held that the execution is not justifiable as the Government is indebted to the estate under administration in the amount of P262,200. The orders of the court below dated August 20, 1960 and September 28, 1960, respectively, are as follows:Atty. Benedicto submitted a copy of the contract between Mrs. Simeona K. Price, Administratrix of the estate of her late husband Walter Scott Price and Director Zoilo Castrillo of the Bureau of Lands dated September 19, 1956 and acknowledged before Notary Public Salvador V. Esguerra, legal adviser in Malacaang to Executive Secretary De Leon dated December 14, 1956, the note of His Excellency, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, to Director Castrillo dated August 2, 1958, directing the latter to pay to Mrs. Price the sum ofP368,140.00, and an extract of page 765 of Republic Act No. 2700 appropriating the sum of P262.200.00 for the payment to the Leyte Cadastral Survey, Inc., represented by the administratrix Simeona K. Price, as directed in the above note of the President. Considering these facts, the Court orders that the payment of inheritance taxes in the sum of P40,058.55 due the Collector of Internal Revenue as ordered paid by this Court on July 5, 1960 in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court promulgated July 30, 1960 in G.R. No. L-14674, be deducted from the amount of P262,200.00 due and payable to the Administratrix Simeona K. Price, in this estate, the balance to be paid by the Government to her without further delay. (Order of August 20, 1960)The Court has nothing further to add to its order dated August 20, 1960 and it orders that the payment of the claim of the Collector of Internal Revenue be deferred until the Government shall have paid its accounts to the administratrix herein amounting to P262,200.00. It may not be amiss to repeat that it is only fair for the Government, as a debtor, to its accounts to its citizens-creditors before it can insist in the prompt payment of the latter's account to it, specially taking into consideration that the amount due to the Government draws interests while the credit due to the present state does not accrue any interest. (Order of September 28, 1960)The petition to set aside the above orders of the court below and for the execution of the claim of the Government against the estate must be denied for lack of merit. The ordinary procedure by which to settle claims of indebtedness against the estate of a deceased person, as an inheritance tax, is for the claimant to present a claim before the probate court so that said court may order the administrator to pay the amount thereof. To such effect is the decision of thisCourt in Aldamiz vs. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Mindoro, G.R. No. L-2360, Dec. 29, 1949, thus:. . . a writ of execution is not the proper procedure allowed by the Rules of Court for the payment of debts and expenses of administration. The proper procedure is for the court to order the sale of personal estate or the sale or mortgage of real property of the deceased and all debts or expenses of administrator and with the written notice to all the heirs legatees and devisees residing in the Philippines, according to Rule 89, section 3, and Rule 90, section 2. And when sale or mortgage of real estate is to be made, the regulations contained in Rule 90, section 7, should be complied with.1wph1.tExecution may issue only where the devisees, legatees or heirs have entered into possession of their respective portions in the estate prior to settlement and payment of the debts and expenses of administration and it is later ascertained that there are such debts and expenses to be paid, in which case "the court having jurisdiction of the estate may, by order for that purpose, after hearing, settle the amount of their several liabilities, and order how much and in what manner each person shall contribute, and mayissue executionif circumstances require" (Rule 89, section 6;see alsoRule 74, Section 4; Emphasis supplied.) And this is not the instant case.The legal basis for such a procedure is the fact that in the testate or intestate proceedings to settle the estate of a deceased person, the properties belonging to the estate are under the jurisdiction of the court and such jurisdiction continues until said properties have been distributed among the heirs entitled thereto. During the pendency of the proceedings all the estate is incustodia legisand the proper procedure is not to allow the sheriff, in case of the court judgment, to seize the properties but to ask the court for an order to require the administrator to pay the amount due from the estate and required to be paid.Another ground for denying the petition of the provincial fiscal is the fact that the court having jurisdiction of the estate had found that the claim of the estate against the Government has been recognized and an amount of P262,200 has already been appropriated for the purpose by a corresponding law (Rep. Act No. 2700). Under the above circumstances, both the claim of the Government for inheritance taxes and the claim of the intestate for services rendered have already become overdue and demandable is well as fully liquidated. Compensation, therefore, takes place by operation of law, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1279 and 1290 of the Civil Code, and both debts are extinguished to the concurrent amount, thus:ART. 1200. When all the requisites mentioned in article 1279 are present, compensation takes effect by operation of law, and extinguished both debts to the concurrent amount, It is clear, therefore, that the petitioner has no clear right to execute the judgment for taxes against the estate of the deceased Walter Scott Price. Furthermore, the petition forcertiorariandmandamusis not the proper remedy for the petitioner. Appeal is the remedy.The petition is, therefore, dismissed, without costs.
[G.R. No. 117359.July 23, 1998]DAVAOGULFLUMBER CORPORATION,petitioner, vs.COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and COURT OF APPEALS,respondents.D E C I S I O NPANGANIBAN,J.:Because taxes are the lifeblood of the nation, statutes that allow exemptions are construed strictly against the grantee and liberally in favor of the government. Otherwise stated, any exemption from the payment of a tax must be clearly stated in the language of the law; it cannot be merely implied therefrom.Statement of the CaseThisprincipiumis applied by the Court in resolving this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decisionof Respondent Court of Appealsin CA-GR SP No. 34581 dated September 26, 1994, which affirmed the June 21, 1994 Decisionof the Court of Tax Appealsin CTA Case No. 3574.The dispositive portion of the CTA Decision affirmed by Respondent Court reads:WHEREFORE,judgment is hereby rendered ordering the respondent to refund to the petitioner the amount ofP2,923.15 representing the partial refund of specific taxes paid on manufactured oils and fuels.The Antecedent FactsThe facts are undisputed.Petitioner is a licensed forest concessionaire possessing a Timber License Agreement granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources (now Department of Environment and Natural Resources).From July 1, 1980 to January 31, 1982 petitioner purchased, from various oil companies, refined and manufactured mineral oils as well as motor and diesel fuels, which it used exclusively for the exploitation and operation of its forest concession.Said oil companies paid the specific taxes imposed, under Sections 153 and 156of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), on the sale of said products. Being included in the purchase price of the oil products, the specific taxes paid by the oil companies were eventually passed on to the user, the petitioner in this case.On December 13, 1982, petitioner filed before Respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) a claim for refund in the amount ofP120,825.11,representing25%ofthespecific taxes actually paid on the above-mentioned fuels and oils that were used by petitioner in its operations as forest concessionaire.The claim was based onInsular Lumber Co. vs. Court of Tax Appealsand Section 5 of RA 1435 which reads:Section 5.The proceeds of the additional tax on manufactured oils shall accrue to the road and bridge funds of the political subdivision for whose benefit the tax is collected:Provided, however, That whenever any oils mentioned above are used by miners or forest concessionaires in their operations, twenty-five per centum of the specific tax paid thereon shall be refunded by the Collector of Internal Revenue upon submission of proof of actual use of oils and under similar conditions enumerated in subparagraphs one and two of section one hereof, amending section one hundred forty-two of the Internal Revenue Code:Provided, further, That no new road shall be constructed unless the routes or location thereof shall have been approved by the Commissioner of Public Highways after a determination that such road can be made part of an integral and articulated route in the Philippine Highway System, as required in section twenty-six of the Philippine Highway Act of 1953.It is an unquestioned fact that petitioner complied with the procedure for refund, including the submission of proof of the actual use of the aforementioned oils in its forest concession as required by the above-quoted law.Petitioner, in support of its claim for refund, submitted to the CIR the affidavits of its general manager, the president of the Philippine Wood Products Association, and three disinterested persons, all attesting that the said manufactured diesel and fuel oils were actually used in the exploitation and operation of its forest concession.On January 20, 1983, petitioner filed at the CTA a petition for review docketed as CTA Case No. 3574.On June 21, 1994, the CTA rendered its decision finding petitioner entitled to a partial refund of specific taxes the latter had paid in the reduced amount ofP2,923.15.The CTA ruled that the claim on purchases of lubricating oil (from July 1, 1980 to January 19, 1981), and on manufactured oils other than lubricating oils (from July 1, 1980 to January 4, 1981) had prescribed.Disallowed on the ground that they were not included in the original claim filed before the CIR were the claims for refund on purchases of manufactured oils from January 1, 1980 to June 30, 1980 and from February 1, 1982 to June 30, 1982.In regard to the other purchases,the CTA granted the claim, but it computed the refund based on rates deemed paid under RA 1435, and not on the higher rates actually paid by petitioner under the NIRC.Insisting that the basis for computing the refund should be the increased rates prescribed by Sections 153 and 156 of the NIRC, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals.As noted earlier, the Court of Appeals affirmed the CTA Decision.Hence, this petition for review.Public Respondents RulingIn its petition before the Court of Appeals, petitioner raised the following arguments:I.The respondent Court of Tax Appeals failed to apply the Supreme Courts Decision inInsular Lumber Co. v. Court of Tax Appealswhich granted the claim for partial refund of specific taxes paid by the claimant, without qualification or limitation.II.The respondent Court of Tax Appeals ignored the increase in rates imposed by succeeding amendatory laws, under which the petitioner paid the specific taxes on manufactured and diesel fuels.III.In its decision, the respondent Court of Tax Appeals ruled contrary to established tenets of law when it lent itself to interpreting Section 5 of R.A. 1435, when the construction of said law is not necessary.IV.Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. 1435 are not the operative provisions to be applied but rather, Sections 153 and 156 of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended.V.To rule that the basis for computation of the refunded taxes should be Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. 1435 rather than Section 153 and 156 of the National Internal Revenue Code is unfair, erroneous, arbitrary, inequitable and oppressive.The Court of Appeals held that the claim for refund should indeed be computed on the basis of the amounts deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435.In so ruling, it cited our pronouncement inCommissioner of Internal Revenue v. Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporationand our subsequent Resolution dated June 15, 1992 clarifying the said Decision.Respondent Court further ruled that the claims for refund which prescribed and those which were not filed at the administrative level must be excluded.The IssueIn its Memorandum, petitioner raises one critical issue:Whether or not petitioner is entitled under Republic Act No. 1435 to the refund of 25% of the amount of specific taxes it actually paid on various refined and manufactured mineral oils and other oil products taxed under Sec. 153 and Sec. 156 of the 1977 (Sec. 142 and Sec. 145 of the 1939) National Internal Revenue Code.In the main, the question before us pertains only to the computation of the tax refund.Petitioner argues that the refund should be based on the increased rates of specific taxes which it actually paid, as prescribed in Sections 153 and 156 of the NIRC.Public respondent, on the other hand, contends that it should be based on specific taxes deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435.The Courts RulingThe petition is not meritorious.Petitioner Entitled to RefundUnder Sec. 5 of RA 1435At the outset, it must be stressed that petitioner is entitled to a partial refund under Section 5 of RA 1435, which was enacted to provide means for increasing the Highway Special Fund.The rationale for this grant of partial refund of specific taxes paid on purchases of manufactured diesel and fuel oils rests on the character of the Highway Special Fund.The specific taxes collected on gasoline and fuel accrue to the Fund, which is to be used for the construction and maintenance of the highway system.But because the gasoline and fuel purchased by mining and lumber concessionaires are used within their own compounds and roads, and their vehicles seldom use the national highways, they do not directly benefit from the Fund and its use.Hence, the tax refund gives the mining and the logging companies a measure of relief in light of their peculiar situation.When the Highway Special Fund was abolished in 1985, the reason for the refund likewise ceased to exist.Since petitioner purchased the subject manufactured diesel and fuel oils from July 1, 1980 to January 31, 1982 and submitted the required proof that these were actually used in operating its forest concession,it is entitled to claim the refund under Section 5 of RA 1435.Tax Refund Strictly ConstruedAgainst the GranteePetitioner submits that it is entitled to the refund of 25 percent of the specific taxes it had actually paid for the petroleum products used in its operations.In other words, it claims a refund based on the increased rates under Sections 153 and 156 of the NIRC.Petitioner argues that the statutory grant of the refund privilege, specifically the phrase twenty-fivepercentum ofthe specific tax paid thereon shall be refunded by the Collector of Internal Revenue, is clear and unambiguous enough to require construction or qualification thereof.In addition, it cites our pronouncement inInsular Lumber vs. Court of Tax Appeals:x x x Section 5 [of RA 1435] makes reference to subparagraphs 1 and 2 of Section 1 only for the purpose of prescribing the procedure for refund.This express reference cannot be expanded in scope to include the limitation of the period of refund.If the limitation of the period of refund of specific taxes paid on oils used in aviation and agriculture is intended to cover similar taxes paid on oil used by miners and forest concessionaires, there would have been no need of dealing with oil used by miners and forest concessions separately and Section 5 would very well have been included in Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1435, notwithstanding the different rate of exemption.Petitioner then reasons that the express mention of Section 1 of RA 1435 in Section 5 cannot be expanded to include a limitation on the tax rates to be applied x x x [otherwise,] Section 5 should very well have been included in Section 1 x x x.The Court is not persuaded.The relevant statutory provisions do not clearly support petitioners claim for refund.RA 1435 provides:SECTION 1.Section one hundred and forty-two of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, is further amended to read as follows:SEC. 142.Specific tax on manufactured oils and other fuels. --On refined and manufactured mineral oils and motor fuels, there shall be collected the following taxes:(a)Kerosene or petroleum, per liter of volume capacity, two and one-half centavos;(b)Lubricating oils, per liter of volume capacity, seven centavos;(c)Naptha, gasoline, and all other similar products of distillation, per liter of volume capacity, eight centavos; and(d)On denatured alcohol to be used for motive power, per liter of volume capacity, one centavo:Provided,That if the denatured alcohol is mixed with gasoline, the specific tax on which has already been paid, only the alcohol content shall be subject to the tax herein prescribed.For the purpose of this subsection, the removal of denatured alcohol of not less than one hundred eighty degrees proof (ninetyper centumabsolute alcohol) shall be deemed to have been removed for motive power, unless shown to the contrary.Whenever any of the oils mentioned above are, during the five years from June eighteen, nineteen hundred and fifty two, used in agriculture and aviation, fiftyper centumof the specific tax paid thereon shall be refunded by the Collector of Internal Revenue upon the submission of the following:(1)A sworn affidavit of the producer and two disinterested persons proving that the said oils were actually used in agriculture, or in lieu thereof(2)Should the producer belong to any producers association or federation, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the affidavit of the president of the association or federation, attesting to the fact that the oils were actually used in agriculture.(3)In the case of aviation oils, a sworn certificate satisfactory to the Collector proving that the said oils were actually used in aviation:Provided,That no such refunds shall be granted in respect to the oils used in aviation by citizens and corporations of foreign countries which do not grant equivalent refunds or exemptions in respect to similar oils used in aviation by citizens and corporations of the Philippines.SEC. 2.Section one hundred and forty-five of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, is further amended to read as follows:SEC. 145.Specific Tax on Diesel fuel oil. --On fuel oil, commercially known as diesel fuel oil, and on all similar fuel oils, having more or less the same generating power, there shall be collected, per metric ton, one peso.x x xx x xx x xSection 5.The proceeds of the additional tax on manufactured oils shall accrue to the road and bridge funds of the political subdivision for whose benefit the tax is collected:Provided, however, That whenever any oils mentioned above are used by miners or forest concessionaires in their operations, twenty-five per centum of the specific tax paid thereon shall be refunded by the Collector of Internal Revenue upon submission of proof of actual use of oils and under similar conditions enumerated in subparagraphs one and two of section one hereof, amending section one hundred forty-two of the Internal Revenue Code:Provided, further, That no new road shall be constructed unless the route or location thereof shall have been approved by the Commissioner of Public Highways after a determination that such road can be made part of an integral and articulated route in the Philippine Highway System, as required in section twenty-six of the Philippine Highway Act of 1953.Subsequently, the 1977 NIRC, PD 1672 and EO 672 amended the first two provisions, renumbering them and prescribing higher rates.Accordingly, petitioner paid specific taxes on petroleum products purchased from July 1, 1980 to January 31, 1982 under the following statutory provisions.From February 8, 1980 to March 20, 1981, Sections 153 and 156 provided as follows:SEC. 153.Specific tax on manufactured oils and other fuels. --On refined and manufactured mineral oils and motor fuels, there shall be collected the following taxes which shall attach to the articles hereunder enumerated as soon as they are in existence as such:(a)Kerosene, per liter of volume capacity, seven centavos;(b)Lubricating oils, per liter of volume capacity, eighty centavos;(c)Naphtha, gasoline and all other similar products of distillation, per liter of volume capacity, ninety-one centavos:Provided, That,on premium and aviation gasoline, the tax shall be one peso per liter of volume capacity;(d)On denatured alcohol to be used for motive power, per liter of volume capacity, one centavo:Provided, That,unless otherwise provided for by special laws, if the denatured alcohol is mixed with gasoline, the specific tax on which has already been paid, only the alcohol content shall be subject to the tax herein prescribed.For the purposes of this subsection, the removal of denatured alcohol of not less than one hundred eighty degrees proof (ninety per centum absolute alcohol) shall be deemed to have been removed for motive power, unless shown to the contrary;(e)Processed gas, per liter of volume capacity, three centavos;(f)Thinners and solvents, per liter of volume capacity, fifty-seven centavos;(g)Liquefied petroleum gas, per kilogram, fourteen centavos:Provided, That,liquefied petroleum gas used for motive power shall be taxed at the equivalent rate as the specific tax on diesel fuel oil;(h)Asphalts, per kilogram, eight centavos;(i)Greases, waxes and petrolatum, per kilogram, fifty centavos;(j)Aviation turbo jet fuel, per liter of volume capacity, fifty-five centavos. (As amended by Sec. 1, P.D. No. 1672.)x x xx x xx x xSEC. 156.Specific tax on diesel fuel oil. --On fuel oil, commercially known as diesel fuel oil, and on all similar fuel oils, having more or less the same generating power, per liter of volume capacity, seventeen and one-half centavos, which tax shall attach to this fuel oil as soon as it is in existence as such."Then on March 21, 1981, these provisions were amended by EO 672 to read:SEC. 153.Specific tax on manufactured oils and other fuels. --On refined and manufactured mineral oils and motor fuels, there shall be collected the following taxes which shall attach to the articles hereunder enumerated as soon as they are in existence as such:(a)Kerosene, per liter of volume capacity, nine centavos;(b)Lubricating oils, per liter of volume capacity, eighty centavos;(c)Naphtha, gasoline and all other similar products of distillation, per liter of volume capacity, one peso and six centavos:Provided,That on premium and aviation gasoline, the tax shall be one peso and ten centavos and one peso, respectively, per liter of volume capacity;(d)On denatured alcohol to be used for motive power, per liter of volume capacity, one centavo;Provided,Thatunless otherwise provided for by special laws, if the denatured alcohol is mixed with gasoline, the specific tax on which has already been paid, only the alcohol content shall be subject to the tax herein prescribed.For the purpose of this subsection, the removal of denatured alcohol of not less than one hundred eighty degrees proof (ninetyper centumabsolute alcohol) shall be deemed to have been removed for motive power, unless shown to the contrary;(e)Processed gas, per liter of volume capacity, three centavos;(f)Thinners and solvents, per liter of volume capacity, sixty-one centavos;(g)Liquefied petroleum gas, per kilogram, twenty-one centavos:Provided,That,liquified petroleum gas used for motive power shall be taxed at the equivalent rate as the specific tax on diesel fuel oil;(h)Asphalts, per kilogram, twelve centavos;(i)Greases, waxes and petrolatum, per kilogram, fifty centavos;(j)Aviation turbo-jet fuel, per liter of volume capacity, sixty-four centavos.x x xx x xx x xSEC. 156.Specific tax on diesel fuel oil. --On fuel oil, commercially known as diesel fuel oil, and all similar fuel oils, having more or less the same generating power, per liter of volume capacity, twenty-five and one-half centavos, which tax shall attach to this fuel oil as soon as it is in existence as such.A tax cannot be imposed unless it is supported by the clear and express language of a statute;on the other hand, once the tax is unquestionably imposed, [a] claim of exemption from tax payments must be clearly shown and based on language in the law too plain to be mistaken.Since the partial refund authorized under Section 5, RA 1435, is in the nature of a tax exemption,it must be construedstrictissimijurisagainst the grantee.Hence, petitioners claim of refund on the basis of the specific taxes it actually paid must expressly be granted in a statute stated in a language too clear to be mistaken.We have carefully scrutinized RA 1435 and the subsequent pertinent statutes and found no expression ofalegislative will authorizing a refund based on the higher rates claimed by petitioner.The mere fact that the privilege of refund was included in Section 5, and not in Section 1, is insufficient to support petitioners claim.When the law itself does not explicitly provide that a refund under RA 1435 may be based on higher rates which were nonexistent at the time of its enactment, this Court cannot presume otherwise.A legislative lacuna cannot be filled by judicial fiat.The issue is not really novel.InCommissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Court of Appeals and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation(the second Atlas case),the CIR contended that the refund should be based on Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435, not Sections 153 and 156 of the NIRC of 1977.In categorically ruling that Private Respondent Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation was entitled to a refund based on Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435, the Court, through Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., reiterated our pronouncement inCommissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Rio Tuba Nickel and Mining Corporation:Our Resolution of 25 March 1992 modifying our 30 September 1991 Decision in theRio Tubacase sets forth the controlling doctrine.In that Resolution, we stated:Since the private respondents claim for refund covers specific taxes paid from 1980 to July 1983 then we find that the private respondent is entitled to a refund.It should be made clear, however, that Rio Tuba is not entitled to the whole amount it claims as refund.The specific taxes on oils which Rio Tuba paid for the aforesaid period were no longer based on the rates specified by Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. No. 1435 but on the increased rates mandated under Sections 153 and 156 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977.We note however, that the latter law does not specifically provide for a refund to these mining and lumber companies of specific taxes paid on manufactured and diesel fuel oils.InInsular Lumber Co. v. Court of Tax Appeals,(104 SCRA 710 ), the Court held that the authorized partial refund under Section 5 of R.A. No. 1435 partakes of the nature of a tax exemption and therefore cannot be allowed unless granted in the most explicit and categorical language.Since the grant of refund privileges must be strictly construed against the taxpayer, the basis for the refund shall be the amounts deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. No. 1435.ACCORDINGLY, the decision in G.R. Nos. 83583-84 is hereby MODIFIED.The private respondents CLAIM for REFUND is GRANTED, computed on the basis of the amounts deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. NO. 1435, without interest.We rule, therefore, that since Atlass claims for refund cover specific taxes paid before 1985, it should be granted the refund based on the rates specified by Sections 1 and 2 of R.A. No. 1435 and not on the increased rates under Sections 153 and 156 of the Tax Code of 1977, provided the claims are not yet barred by prescription. (Underscoring supplied.)Insular Lumber Co.and First Atlas Case Not Inconsistent WithRio TubaandSecond Atlas CasePetitioner argues that the applicable jurisprudence in this case should beCommissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Atlas Consolidated and Mining Corp. (the first Atlas case), an unsigned resolution, andInsular Lumber Co. vs. Court of Tax Appeals,anen bancdecision.Petitioner also asks the Court to take a second look atRio Tubaand the second Atlas case, both decided by Divisions, in view ofInsularwhich was decideden banc.Petitioner posits that [I]n view of the similarity of the situation of herein petitioner with Insular Lumber Company (claimant inInsular Lumber) and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (claimant inRio Tuba), adilemmahas been created as to whether or notInsular Lumber, which has been decided by the Honorable Courten banc, orRio Tuba, which was decided only [by] the Third Division of the Honorable Court, should apply.We find no conflict between these two pairs of cases.NeitherInsular Lumber Co.nor the first Atlas case ruled on the issue of whether the refundprivilegeunderSection5shouldbe computed based on the specific tax deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435, regardless of what was actually paid under the increased rates.Rio Tubaand the second Atlas case did.Insular Lumber Co.decided a claim for refund on specific tax paid on petroleum products purchased in the year 1963, when the increased rates under the NIRC of 1977 were not yet in effect.Thus, the issue now before us did not exist at the time, since the applicable rates were still those prescribed under Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435.On the other hand, the issue raised in the first Atlas case was whether the claimant was entitled to the refund under Section 5, notwithstanding its failure to pay any additional tax under a municipal or city ordinance.Although Atlas purchased petroleum products in the years 1976 to 1978 when the rates had already been changed, the Court did not decide or make any pronouncement on the issue in that case.Clearly, it is impossible for these two decisions to clash with our pronouncement inRio Tubaand secondAtlascase, in which we ruled that the refund granted be computed on the basis of the amounts deemed paid under Sections 1 and 2 of RA 1435.In this light, we find no basis for petitioners invocation of the constitutional proscription that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendereden bancor in division may be modified or reversed except by the Court sittingen banc.Finally, petitioner asserts that equity and justice demand that the computation of the tax refunds be based on actual amounts paid under Sections 153 and 156 of the NIRC.We disagree.According to an eminent authority on taxation, there is no tax exemption solely on the ground of equity.WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIEDand the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.SO ORDERED.Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Martinez, Quisumbing,andPurisima, JJ.,concur.
G.R. Nos. 141104 & 148763 June 8, 2007ATLAS CONSOLIDATED MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,petitioner,vs.COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,respondent.D E C I S I O NCHICO-NAZARIO,J.:Before this Court are the consolidated cases involving the unsuccessful claims of herein petitioner Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (petitioner corporation) for the refund/credit of the input Value Added Tax (VAT) on its purchases of capital goods and on its zero-rated sales in the taxable quarters of the years 1990 and 1992, the denial of which by the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.Petitioner corporation is engaged in the business of mining, production, and sale of various mineral products, such as gold, pyrite, and copper concentrates. It is a VAT-registered taxpayer. It was initially issued VAT Registration No. 32-A-6-002224, dated 1 January 1988, but it had to register anew with the appropriate revenue district office (RDO) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) when it moved its principal place of business, and it was re-issued VAT Registration No. 32-0-004622, dated 15 August 1990.1G.R. No. 141104Petitioner corporation filed with the BIR its VAT Return for the first quarter of 1992.2It alleged that it likewise filed with the BIR the corresponding application for the refund/credit of its input VAT on its purchases of capital goods and on its zero-rated sales in the amount ofP26,030,460.00.3When its application for refund/credit remained unresolved by the BIR, petitioner corporation filed on 20 April 1994 its Petition for Review with the CTA, docketed as CTA Case No. 5102. Asserting that it was a "zero-rated VAT person," it prayed that the CTA order herein respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue (respondent Commissioner) to refund/credit petitioner corporation with the amount ofP26,030,460.00, representing the input VAT it had paid for the first quarter of 1992. The respondent Commissioner opposed and sought the dismissal of the petition for review of petitioner corporation for failure to state a cause of action. After due trial, the CTA promulgated its Decision4on 24 November 1997 with the following disposition WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant claim for refund is herebyDENIEDon the ground of prescription, insufficiency of evidence and failure to comply with Section 230 of the Tax Code, as amended. Accordingly, the petition at bar is herebyDISMISSEDfor lack of merit.The CTA denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner corporation in a Resolution5dated 15 April 1998.When the case was elevated to the Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No. 47607, the appellate court, in its Decision,6dated 6 July 1999, dismissed the appeal of petitioner corporation, finding no reversible error in the CTA Decision, dated 24 November 1997. The subsequent motion for reconsideration of petitioner corporation was also denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution,7dated 14 December 1999.Thus, petitioner corporation comes before this Court,viaa Petition for Review onCertiorariunder Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, assigning the following errors committed by the Court of Appeals ITHE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE REQUIREMENT OF REVENUE REGULATIONS NO. 2-88 THAT AT LEAST 70% OF THE SALES OF THE [BOARD OF INVESTMENTS (BOI)]-REGISTERED FIRM MUST CONSIST OF EXPORTS FOR ZERO-RATING TO APPLY.IITHE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO SUBMIT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE SINCE FAILURE TO SUBMIT PHOTOCOPIES OF VAT INVOICES AND RECEIPTS IS NOT A FATAL DEFECT.IIITHE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE JUDICIAL CLAIM WAS FILED BEYOND THE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD SINCE THE JUDICIAL CLAIM WAS FILED WITHIN TWO (2) YEARS FROM THE FILING OF THE VAT RETURN.IVTHE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ORDERING CTA TO ALLOW THE RE-OPENING OF THE CASE FOR PETITIONER TO PRESENT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE.8G.R. No. 148763G.R. No. 148763 involves almost the same set of facts as in G.R. No. 141104 presented above, except that it relates to the claims of petitioner corporation for refund/credit of input VAT on its purchases of capital goods and on its zero-rated sales made in the last three taxable quarters of 1990.Petitioner corporation filed with the BIR its VAT Returns for the second, third, and fourth quarters of 1990, on 20 July 1990, 18 October 1990, and 20 January 1991, respectively. It submitted separate applications to the BIR for the refund/credit of the input VAT paid on its purchases of capital goods and on its zero-rated sales, the details of which are presented as follows Date of ApplicationPeriod CoveredAmount Applied For
21 August 19902ndQuarter, 1990P54,014,722.04
21 November 19903rdQuarter, 199075,304,774.77
19 February 19914thQuarter, 199043,829,766.10
When the BIR failed to act on its applications for refund/credit, petitioner corporation filed with the CTA the following petitions for review Date FiledPeriod CoveredCTA Case No.
20 July 19922ndQuarter, 19904831
9 October 19923rdQuarter, 19904859
14 January 19934thQuarter, 19904944
which were eventually consolidated. The respondent Commissioner contested the foregoing Petitions and prayed for the dismissal thereof. The CTA ruled in favor of respondent Commissioner and in its Decision,9dated 30 October 1997, dismissed the Petitions mainly on the ground that the prescriptive periods for filing the same had expired. In a Resolution,10dated 15 January 1998, the CTA denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner corporation since the latter presented no new matter not already discussed in the court's prior Decision. In the same Resolution, the CTA also denied the alternative prayer of petitioner corporation for a new trial since it did not fall under any of the grounds cited under Section 1, Rule 37 of the Revised Rules of Court, and it was not supported by affidavits of merits required by Section 2 of the same Rule.Petitioner corporation appealed its case to the Court of Appeals, where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 46718. On 15 September 2000, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision,11finding that although petitioner corporation timely filed its Petitions for Review with the CTA, it still failed to substantiate its claims for the refund/credit of its input VAT for the last three quarters of 1990. In its Resolution,12dated 27 June 2001, the appellate court denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner corporation, finding no cogent reason to reverse its previous Decision.Aggrieved, petitioner corporation filed with this Court another Petition for Review onCertiorariunder Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, docketed as G.R. No. 148763, raising the following issues A.WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER'S CLAIM IS BARRED UNDER REVENUE REGULATIONS NOS. 2-88 AND 3-88 I.E., FOR FAILURE TO PTOVE [sic] THE 70% THRESHOLD FOR ZERO-RATING TO APPLY AND FOR FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE FACTUAL BASIS FOR THE INSTANT CLAIM.B.WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE IS NO BASIS TO GRANT PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL.There being similarity of parties, subject matter, and issues, G.R. Nos. 141104 and 148763 were consolidated pursuant to a Resolution, dated 4 September 2006, issued by this Court. The ruling of this Court in these cases hinges on how it will resolve the following key issues: (1) prescription of the claims of petitioner corporation for input VAT refund/credit; (2) validity and applicability of Revenue Regulations No. 2-88 imposing upon petitioner corporation, as a requirement for the VAT zero-rating of its sales, the burden of proving that the buyer companies were not just BOI-registered but also exporting 70% of their total annual production; (3) sufficiency of evidence presented by petitioner corporation to establish that it is indeed entitled to input VAT refund/credit; and (4) legal ground for granting the motion of petitioner corporation for re-opening of its cases or holding of new trial before the CTA so it could be given the opportunity to present the required evidence.PrescriptionThe prescriptive period for filing an application for tax refund/credit of input VAT on zero-rated sales made in 1990 and 1992 was governed by Section 106(b) and (c) of the Tax Code of 1977, as amended, which provided that SEC. 106.Refunds or tax credits of input tax. x x x.(b)Zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales. Any person, except those covered by paragraph (a) above, whose sales are zero-rated may, within two years after the close of the quarter when such sales were made, apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund of the input taxes attributable to such sales to the extent that such input tax has not been applied against output tax.x x x x(e)Period within which refund of input taxes may be made by the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall refund input taxes within 60 days from the date the application for refund was filed with him or his duly authorized representative. No refund of input taxes shall be allowed unless the VAT-registered person files an application for refund within the period prescribed in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) as the case may be.By a plain reading of the foregoing provision, the two-year prescriptive period for filing the application for refund/credit of input VAT on zero-rated sales shall be determined from the close of the quarter when such sales were made.Petitioner contends, however, that the said two-year prescriptive period should be counted, not from the close of the quarter when the zero-rated sales were made, but from the date of filing of the quarterly VAT return and payment of the tax due 20 days thereafter, in accordance with Section 110(b) of the Tax Code of 1977, as amended, quoted as follows SEC. 110.Return and payment of value-added tax. x x x.(b)Time for filing of return and payment of tax. The return shall be filed and the tax paid within 20 days following the end of each quarter specifically prescribed for a VAT-registered person under regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of Finance:Provided, however,That any person whose registration is cancelled in accordance with paragraph (e) of Section 107 shall file a return within 20 days from the cancellation of such registration.It is already well-settled that the two-year prescriptive period for instituting a suit or proceeding for recovery of corporate income tax erroneously or illegally paid under Section 23013of the Tax Code of 1977, as amended, was to be counted from the filing of the final adjustment return. This Court already set out inACCRA Investments Corporation v. Court of Appeals,14the rationale for such a rule, thus Clearly, there is the need to file a return first before a claim for refund can prosper inasmuch as the respondent Commissioner by his own rules and regulations mandates that the corporate taxpayer opting to ask for a refund must show in its final adjustment return the income it received from all sources and the amount of withholding taxes remitted by its withholding agents to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The petitioner corporation filed its final adjustment return for its 1981 taxable year on April 15, 1982. In our Resolution dated April 10, 1989 in the case ofCommissioner of Internal Revenue v. Asia Australia Express, Ltd.(G.R. No. 85956), we ruled that the two-year prescriptive period within which to claim a refund commences to run, at the earliest, on the date of the filing of the adjusted final tax return. Hence, the petitioner corporation had until April 15, 1984 within which to file its claim for refund.Considering that ACCRAIN filed its claim for refund as early as December 29, 1983 with the respondent Commissioner who failed to take any action thereon and considering further that the non-resolution of its claim for refund with the said Commissioner prompted ACCRAIN to reiterate its claim before the Court of Tax A