164 on october 6 2010are shielded from the vice of

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164 on October 6, 2010—are shielded from the vice of prematurity. The BIR Ruling declared that the "taxpayer- claimant need not wait for the lapse of the 120-day period before it could seek judicial relief with the C[ourt] [of] T[ax] A[ppeals] by way of Petition for Review." The Court reasoned that: ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary Taxpayers should not be prejudiced by an erroneous interpretation by the Commissioner, particularly on a difficult question of law. The abandonment of the Atlas doctrine by Mirant and Aichi is proof that the reckoning of the prescriptive periods for input VAT tax refund or credit is a difficult question of law. The abandonment of the Atlas doctrine did not result in Atlas, or other taxpayers similarly situated, being made to return the tax refund or credit they received or could have received under Atlas prior to its abandonment. This Court is applying Mirant and Aichi prospectively. Absent fraud, bad faith or misrepresentation, the reversal by this Court of a general interpretative rule issued by the Commissioner, like the reversal of a specific BIR ruling under Section 246, should also apply prospectively. . . . . . . . Thus, the only issue is whether BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 is a general interpretative rule applicable to all taxpayers or a specific ruling applicable only to a particular taxpayer. BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 is a general interpretative rule because it was a response to a query made, not by a particular taxpayer, but by a government agency tasked with processing tax refunds and credits, that is, the One Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Drawback Center of the Department of Finance. This government agency is also the addressee, or the entity responded to, in BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03. Thus, while this government agency mentions in its query to the Commissioner the administrative claim of Lazi Bay Resources Development, Inc., the agency was in fact asking the Commissioner what to do in cases like the tax claim of Lazi Bay Resources Development, Inc., where the taxpayer did not wait for the lapse of the 120-day period. Clearly, BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 is a general interpretative rule. Thus, all taxpayers can rely on BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 from the time of its issuance on 10 December 2003 up to its reversal by this Court in Aichi on 6 October 2010, where this Court held that the 120+30 day periods are mandatory and jurisdictional. 165 ( Emphasis supplied ) The previous interpretations given to an ambiguous law by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is charged to carry out its provisions, are entitled to great weight, and taxpayers who relied on the same should not be prejudiced in their rights. 166 Hence, this Court's
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construction should be prospective; otherwise, there will be a violation of due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties affected by it, fair notice of the special burdens imposed on them.
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