A General Principles of Taxation Prelims.docx - G.R No...

This preview shows page 1 out of 709 pages.

Unformatted text preview: G.R. No. L-29059 December 15, 1987 COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. CEBU PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY and COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents. CRUZ, J.: By virtue of a decision of the Court of Tax Appeals rendered on June 21, 1961, as modified on appeal by the Supreme Court on February 27, 1965, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue was ordered to refund to the Cebu Portland Cement Company the amount of P 359,408.98, representing overpayments of ad valorem taxes on cement produced and sold by it after October 1957. 1 On March 28, 1968, following denial of motions for reconsideration filed by both the petitioner and the private respondent, the latter moved for a writ of execution to enforce the said judgment . 2 The motion was opposed by the petitioner on the ground that the private respondent had an outstanding sales tax liability to which the judgment debt had already been credited. In fact, it was stressed, there was still a balance owing on the sales taxes in the amount of P 4,789,279.85 plus 28% surcharge. 3 On April 22, 1968, the Court of Tax Appeals * granted the motion, holding that the alleged sales tax liability of the private respondent was still being questioned and therefore could not be set-off against the refund. 4 In his petition to review the said resolution, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue claims that the refund should be charged against the tax deficiency of the private respondent on the sales of cement under Section 186 of the Tax Code. His position is that cement is a manufactured and not a mineral product and therefore not exempt from sales taxes. He adds that enforcement of the said tax deficiency was properly effected through his power of distraint of personal property under Sections 316 and 318 5 of the said Code and, moreover, the collection of any national internal revenue tax may not be enjoined under Section 305, 6 subject only to the exception prescribed in Rep. Act No. 1125. 7 This is not applicable to the instant case. The petitioner also denies that the sales tax assessments have already prescribed because the prescriptive period should be counted from the filing of the sales tax returns, which had not yet been done by the private respondent. For its part, the private respondent disclaims liability for the sales taxes, on the ground that cement is not a manufactured product but a mineral product. 8 As such, it was exempted from sales taxes under Section 188 of the Tax Code after the effectivity of Rep. Act No. 1299 on June 16, 1955, in accordance with Cebu Portland Cement Co. v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 9 decided in 1968. Here Justice Eugenio Angeles declared that "before the effectivity of Rep. Act No. 1299, amending Section 246 of the National Internal Revenue Code, cement was taxable as a manufactured product under Section 186, in connection with Section 194(4) of the said Code," thereby implying that it was not considered a manufactured product afterwards. Also, the alleged sales tax deficiency could not as yet be enforced against it because the tax assessment was not yet final, the same being still under protest and still to be definitely resolved on the merits. Besides, the assessment had already prescribed, not having been made within the reglementary five-year period from the filing of the tax returns. 10 Page 1 of 709 Our ruling is that the sales tax was properly imposed upon the private respondent for the reason that cement has always been considered a manufactured product and not a mineral product. This matter was extensively discussed and categorically resolved in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Republic Cement Corporation, 11 decided on August 10, 1983, where Justice Efren L. Plana, after an exhaustive review of the pertinent cases, declared for a unanimous Court: From all the foregoing cases, it is clear that cement qua cement was never considered as a mineral product within the meaning of Section 246 of the Tax Code, notwithstanding that at least 80% of its components are minerals, for the simple reason that cement is the product of a manufacturing process and is no longer the mineral product contemplated in the Tax Code (i.e.; minerals subjected to simple treatments) for the purpose of imposing the ad valorem tax. What has apparently encouraged the herein respondents to maintain their present posture is the case of Cebu Portland Cement Co. v. Collector of Internal Revenue, L-20563, Oct. 29, 1968 (28 SCRA 789) penned by Justice Eugenio Angeles. For some portions of that decision give the impression that Republic Act No. 1299, which amended Section 246, reclassified cement as a mineral product that was not subject to sales tax. ... xxx xxx xxx After a careful study of the foregoing, we conclude that reliance on the decision penned by Justice Angeles is misplaced. The said decision is no authority for the proposition that after the enactment of Republic Act No. 1299 in 1955 (defining mineral product as things with at least 80% mineral content), cement became a 'mineral product," as distinguished from a "manufactured product," and therefore ceased to be subject to sales tax. It was not necessary for the Court to so rule. It was enough for the Court to say in effect that even assuming Republic Act No. 1299 had reclassified cement was a mineral product, the reclassification could not be given retrospective application (so as to justify the refund of sales taxes paid before Republic Act 1299 was adopted) because laws operate prospectively only, unless the legislative intent to the contrary is manifest, which was not so in the case of Republic Act 1266. [The situation would have been different if the Court instead had ruled in favor of refund, in which case it would have been absolutely necessary (1) to make an unconditional ruling that Republic Act 1299 re-classified cement as a mineral product (not subject to sales tax), and (2) to declare the law retroactive, as a basis for granting refund of sales tax paid before Republic Act 1299.] In any event, we overrule the CEPOC decision of October 29, 1968 (G.R. No. L-20563) insofar as its pronouncements or any implication therefrom conflict with the instant decision. The above views were reiterated in the resolution 12 denying reconsideration of the said decision, thus: The nature of cement as a "manufactured product" (rather than a "mineral product") is well-settled. The issue has repeatedly presented itself as a threshold question for determining the basis for computing the ad valorem mining tax to be paid by cement Companies. No Page 2 of 709 pronouncement was made in these cases that as a "manufactured product" cement is subject to sales tax because this was not at issue. The decision sought to be reconsidered here referred to the legislative history of Republic Act No. 1299 which introduced a definition of the terms "mineral" and "mineral products" in Sec. 246 of the Tax Code. Given the legislative intent, the holding in the CEPOC case (G.R. No. L-20563) that cement was subject to sales tax prior to the effectivity f Republic Act No. 1299 cannot be construed to mean that, after the law took effect, cement ceased to be so subject to the tax. To erase any and all misconceptions that may have been spawned by reliance on the case of Cebu Portland Cement Co. v. Collector of Internal Revenue, L-20563, October 29, 1968 (28 SCRA 789) penned by Justice Eugenio Angeles, the Court has expressly overruled it insofar as it may conflict with the decision of August 10, 1983, now subject of these motions for reconsideration. On the question of prescription, the private respondent claims that the five-year reglementary period for the assessment of its tax liability started from the time it filed its gross sales returns on June 30, 1962. Hence, the assessment for sales taxes made on January 16, 1968 and March 4, 1968, were already out of time. We disagree. This contention must fail for what CEPOC filed was not the sales returns required in Section 183(n) but the ad valorem tax returns required under Section 245 of the Tax Code. As Justice Irene R. Cortes emphasized in the aforestated resolution: In order to avail itself of the benefits of the five-year prescription period under Section 331 of the Tax Code, the taxpayer should have filed the required return for the tax involved, that is, a sales tax return. (Butuan Sawmill, Inc. v. CTA, et al., G.R. No. L-21516, April 29, 1966, 16 SCRA 277). Thus CEPOC should have filed sales tax returns of its gross sales for the subject periods. Both parties admit that returns were made for the ad valorem mining tax. CEPOC argues that said returns contain the information necessary for the assessment of the sales tax. The Commissioner does not consider such returns as compliance with the requirement for the filing of tax returns so as to start the running of the five-year prescriptive period. We agree with the Commissioner. It has been held in Butuan Sawmill Inc. v. CTA, supra, that the filing of an income tax return cannot be considered as substantial compliance with the requirement of filing sales tax returns, in the same way that an income tax return cannot be considered as a return for compensating tax for the purpose of computing the period of prescription under Sec. 331. (Citing Bisaya Land Transportation Co., Inc. v. Collector of Internal Revenue, G.R. Nos. L-12100 and L-11812, May 29, 1959). There being no sales tax returns filed by CEPOC, the statute of stations in Sec. 331 did not begin to run against the government. The assessment made by the Commissioner in 1968 on CEPOC's cement sales during the period from July 1, 1959 to December 31, 1960 is not barred by the five-year prescriptive period. Absent a return or when the return is false or fraudulent, the applicable period is ten (10) days from the discovery of the fraud, falsity or omission. The question in this case is: When was CEPOC's omission to file tha return deemed discovered by the government, so as to start the running of said period? 13 Page 3 of 709 The argument that the assessment cannot as yet be enforced because it is still being contested loses sight of the urgency of the need to collect taxes as "the lifeblood of the government." If the payment of taxes could be postponed by simply questioning their validity, the machinery of the state would grind to a halt and all government functions would be paralyzed. That is the reason why, save for the exception already noted, the Tax Code provides: Sec. 291. Injunction not available to restrain collection of tax. — No court shall have authority to grant an injunction to restrain the collection of any national internal revenue tax, fee or charge imposed by this Code. It goes without saying that this injunction is available not only when the assessment is already being questioned in a court of justice but more so if, as in the instant case, the challenge to the assessment is still-and only-on the administrative level. There is all the more reason to apply the rule here because it appears that even after crediting of the refund against the tax deficiency, a balance of more than P 4 million is still due from the private respondent. To require the petitioner to actually refund to the private respondent the amount of the judgment debt, which he will later have the right to distrain for payment of its sales tax liability is in our view an Idle ritual. We hold that the respondent Court of Tax Appeals erred in ordering such a charade. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The resolution dated April 22, 1968, in CTA Case No. 786 is SET ASIDE, without any pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Teehankee, C.J., Narvasa, Paras and Gancayco, JJ., concur. Footnotes 1 Rollo, pp. 34-37. 2 Ibid, p. 67. 3 Id, pp. 69-70. * Judges Roman L. Umali, presiding, Ramon L. Avancena and Estanislao R. Alvarez. 4 Id, pp. 69-71. 5 Now Secs. 302 & 304, National Internal Revenue Code. 6 Now Sec.291,National Internal Revenue Code. 7 Sec. 11. x x x. No appeal taken to the Court of Tax Appeals from the decision of the Collector of Internal Revenue or the Collector of Customs shall suspend the payment, levy, distraint and/or sale of any property of the taxpayer for the satisfaction of his tax liability as provided by existing law: Provided, however, That when in the opinion of the Court the Page 4 of 709 collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue or the Commissioner of Customs may jeopardize the interest of the Government and/or the taxpayer the Court at any stage of the proceeding may suspend the said collection and require the taxpayer either to deposit the amount claimed or to file a surety bond for not more than double the amount with the Court. 8 Rollo, pp. 77-78. 9 25 SCRA 789. 10 Rollo, p. 78. 11 142 SCRA 46. 12 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Republic Cement Corp., et al., G.R. Nos. L-35668-72 & L-35683, May 7, 1987; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. CEPOC Industries, Inc., et al., G.R. No. L-35677, May 7, 1987. 13 Ibid. Page 5 of 709 G.R. Nos. 89898-99 October 1, 1990 MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. SALVADOR P. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Judge RTC of Makati, Branch CXLII ADMIRAL FINANCE CREDITORS CONSORTIUM, INC., and SHERIFF SILVINO R. PASTRANA, respondents. Defante & Elegado for petitioner. Roberto B. Lugue for private respondent Admiral Finance Creditors' Consortium, Inc. RESOLUTION CORTÉS, J.: The present petition for review is an off-shoot of expropriation proceedings initiated by petitioner Municipality of Makati against private respondent Admiral Finance Creditors Consortium, Inc., Home Building System & Realty Corporation and one Arceli P. Jo, involving a parcel of land and improvements thereon located at Mayapis St., San Antonio Village, Makati and registered in the name of Arceli P. Jo under TCT No. S-5499. It appears that the action for eminent domain was filed on May 20, 1986, docketed as Civil Case No. 13699. Attached to petitioner's complaint was a certification that a bank account (Account No. S/A 265-537154-3) had been opened with the PNB Buendia Branch under petitioner's name containing the sum of P417,510.00, made pursuant to the provisions of Pres. Decree No. 42. After due hearing where the parties presented their respective appraisal reports regarding the value of the property, respondent RTC judge rendered a decision on June 4, 1987, fixing the appraised value of the property at P5,291,666.00, and ordering petitioner to pay this amount minus the advanced payment of P338,160.00 which was earlier released to private respondent. After this decision became final and executory, private respondent moved for the issuance of a writ of execution. This motion was granted by respondent RTC judge. After issuance of the writ of execution, a Notice of Garnishment dated January 14, 1988 was served by respondent sheriff Silvino R. Pastrana upon the manager of the PNB Buendia Branch. However, respondent sheriff was informed that a "hold code" was placed on the account of petitioner. As a result of this, private respondent filed a motion dated January 27, 1988 praying that an order be issued directing the bank to deliver to respondent sheriff the amount equivalent to the unpaid balance due under the RTC decision dated June 4, 1987. Petitioner filed a motion to lift the garnishment, on the ground that the manner of payment of the expropriation amount should be done in installments which the respondent RTC judge failed to state in his decision. Private respondent filed its opposition to the motion. Pending resolution of the above motions, petitioner filed on July 20, 1988 a "Manifestation" informing the court that private respondent was no longer the true and lawful owner of the subject property because a new title over the property had been registered in the name of Philippine Savings Bank, Inc. (PSB) Respondent RTC judge issued an order requiring PSB to make available the documents pertaining to its transactions over the subject property, and the PNB Buendia Branch to reveal the amount in petitioner's account which was garnished by respondent Page 6 of 709 sheriff. In compliance with this order, PSB filed a manifestation informing the court that it had consolidated its ownership over the property as mortgagee/purchaser at an extrajudicial foreclosure sale held on April 20, 1987. After several conferences, PSB and private respondent entered into a compromise agreement whereby they agreed to divide between themselves the compensation due from the expropriation proceedings. Respondent trial judge subsequently issued an order dated September 8, 1988 which: (1) approved the compromise agreement; (2) ordered PNB Buendia Branch to immediately release to PSB the sum of P4,953,506.45 which corresponds to the balance of the appraised value of the subject property under the RTC decision dated June 4, 1987, from the garnished account of petitioner; and, (3) ordered PSB and private respondent to execute the necessary deed of conveyance over the subject property in favor of petitioner. Petitioner's motion to lift the garnishment was denied. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was duly opposed by private respondent. On the other hand, for failure of the manager of the PNB Buendia Branch to comply with the order dated September 8, 1988, private respondent filed two succeeding motions to require the bank manager to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court. During the hearings conducted for the above motions, the general manager of the PNB Buendia Branch, a Mr. Antonio Bautista, informed the court that he was still waiting for proper authorization from the PNB head office enabling him to make a disbursement for the amount so ordered. For its part, petitioner contended that its funds at the PNB Buendia Branch could neither be garnished nor levied upon execution, for to do so would result in the disbursement of public funds without the proper appropriation required under the law, citing the case of Republic of the Philippines v. Palacio [G.R. No. L-20322, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 899]. Respondent trial judge issued an order dated December 21, 1988 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration on the ground that the doctrine enunciated in Republic v. Palacio did not apply to the case because petitioner's PNB Account No. S/A 265-537154-3 was an account specifically opened for the expropriation proceedings of the subject property pursuant to Pres. Decree No. 42. Respondent RTC judge likewise declared Mr. Antonio Bautista guilty of contempt of court for his inexcusable refusal to obey the order dated September 8, 1988, and thus ordered his arrest and detention until his compliance with the said order. Petitioner and the bank manager of PNB Buendia Branch then filed separate petitions for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which were eventually consolidated. In a decision promulgated on June 28, 1989, the Court of Appeals dismissed both petitions for lack of merit, sustained the jurisdiction of respondent RTC judge over the funds contained in petitioner's PNB Account No. 265-537154-3, and affirmed his authority to levy on such funds. Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Court of Appeals, petitioner now files the present petition for review with prayer for preliminary injunction. On November 20, 1989, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent RTC judge, respondent sheriff, and their representatives, from enforcing and/or carrying out the RTC order dated December 21, 1988 and the writ of garnishment issued pursuant thereto. Private respondent then filed its comment to the petition, while petitioner filed its reply. Petitioner not only reiterates the arguments adduced in its petition before the Court of Appeals, but also alleges for the first time that it has actually two accounts with the PNB Buendia Branch, to wit: Page 7 of 709 xxx xxx xxx (1) Account No. S/A 265-537154-3 — exclusiv...
View Full Document

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture