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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No.

L-28896 February 17, 1988 COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. ALGUE, INC., and THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents. CRUZ, J.: Taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance On the other hand, 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 taxation, which is the promotion of the common good, may be achieved. The main issue in this case is whether or not the Collector of Internal Revenue correctly disallowed the P75,000.00 deduction claimed by private respondent Algue as legitimate business expenses in its income tax returns. The corollary issue is whether or not the appeal of the private respondent from the decision of the Collector of Internal Revenue was made on time and in accordance with law. We deal first with the procedural question. The record shows that on January 14, 1965, the private respondent, a domestic corporation engaged in engineering, construction and other allied activities, received a letter from the petitioner assessing it in the total amount of P83,183.85 1 as delinquency income taxes for the years 1958 and 1959. On January 18, 1965, Algue flied a letter of protest or request for reconsideration, which letter was stamp 2 received on the same day in the office of the petitioner. On March 12, 1965, a warrant of distraint and levy was presented to the private respondent, through its counsel, Atty. Alberto Guevara, Jr., who refused to receive it on the ground of the 3 pending protest. A search of the protest in the dockets of the case proved fruitless. Atty. Guevara produced his file copy and gave a photostat to BIR agent 4 Ramon Reyes, who deferred service of the warrant. On April 7, 1965, Atty.

Guevara was finally informed that the BIR was not taking any action on the protest and it was only then that he accepted the warrant of distraint and levy earlier 5 sought to be served. Sixteen days later, on April 23, 1965, Algue filed a petition for review of the decision of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue with the Court of 6 Tax Appeals. The above chronology shows that the petition was filed seasonably. According to Rep. Act No. 1125, the appeal may be made within thirty days after receipt of the 7 decision or ruling challenged. It is true that as a rule the warrant of distraint and 8 levy is "proof of the finality of the assessment" and renders hopeless a request for 9 reconsideration," being "tantamount to an outright denial thereof and makes the 10 said request deemed rejected." But there is a special circumstance in the case at bar that prevents application of this accepted doctrine. The proven fact is that four days after the private respondent received the petitioner's notice of assessment, it filed its letter of protest. This was apparently not taken into account before the warrant of distraint and levy was issued; indeed, such protest could not be located in the office of the petitioner. It was only after Atty. Guevara gave the BIR a copy of the protest that it was, if at all, considered by the tax authorities. During the intervening period, the warrant was premature and could therefore not be served. As the Court of Tax Appeals correctly noted," the protest filed by private respondent was not pro forma and was based on strong legal considerations. It thus had the effect of suspending on January 18, 1965, when it was filed, the reglementary period which started on the date the assessment was received, viz., January 14, 1965. The period started running again only on April 7, 1965, when the private respondent was definitely informed of the implied rejection of the said protest and the warrant was finally served on it. Hence, when the appeal was filed on April 23, 1965, only 20 days of the reglementary period had been consumed. Now for the substantive question. The petitioner contends that the claimed deduction of P75,000.00 was properly disallowed because it was not an ordinary reasonable or necessary business expense. The Court of Tax Appeals had seen it differently. Agreeing with Algue, it held that the said amount had been legitimately paid by the private respondent for actual services rendered. The payment was in the form of promotional fees. These were collected by the Payees for their work in the creation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation of the Philippines and its subsequent purchase of the properties of the Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company.

Parenthetically, it may be observed that the petitioner had Originally claimed these 12 promotional fees to be personal holding company income but later conformed to 13 the decision of the respondent court rejecting this assertion. In fact, as the said court found, the amount was earned through the joint efforts of the persons among whom it was distributed It has been established that the Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company had earlier appointed Algue as its agent, authorizing it to sell its land, factories and oil manufacturing process. Pursuant to such authority, Alberto Guevara, Jr., Eduardo Guevara, Isabel Guevara, Edith, O'Farell, and Pablo Sanchez, worked for the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation, 14 inducing other persons to invest in it. Ultimately, after its incorporation largely through the promotion of the said persons, this new corporation purchased the 15 PSEDC properties. For this sale, Algue received as agent a commission of P126,000.00, and it was from this commission that the P75,000.00 promotional 16 fees were paid to the aforenamed individuals. There is no dispute that the payees duly reported their respective shares of the 17 fees in their income tax returns and paid the corresponding taxes thereon. The Court of Tax Appeals also found, after examining the evidence, that no distribution 18 of dividends was involved. The petitioner claims that these payments are fictitious because most of the payees are members of the same family in control of Algue. It is argued that no indication was made as to how such payments were made, whether by check or in cash, and there is not enough substantiation of such payments. In short, the petitioner suggests a tax dodge, an attempt to evade a legitimate assessment by involving an imaginary deduction. We find that these suspicions were adequately met by the private respondent when its President, Alberto Guevara, and the accountant, Cecilia V. de Jesus, testified that the payments were not made in one lump sum but periodically and in different 19 amounts as each payee's need arose. It should be remembered that this was a family corporation where strict business procedures were not applied and immediate issuance of receipts was not required. Even so, at the end of the year, when the books were to be closed, each payee made an accounting of all of the 20 fees received by him or her, to make up the total of P75,000.00. Admittedly, everything seemed to be informal. This arrangement was understandable, however, in view of the close relationship among the persons in the family corporation. We agree with the respondent court that the amount of the promotional fees was not excessive. The total commission paid by the Philippine Sugar Estate 21 Development Co. to the private respondent was P125,000.00. After deducting the

said fees, Algue still had a balance of P50,000.00 as clear profit from the transaction. The amount of P75,000.00 was 60% of the total commission. This was a reasonable proportion, considering that it was the payees who did practically everything, from the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation to the actual purchase by it of the Sugar Estate properties. This finding of the respondent court is in accord with the following provision of the Tax Code: SEC. 30. Deductions from gross income.--In computing net income there shall be allowed as deductions (a) Expenses: (1) In general.--All the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, including a reasonable allowance for salaries or other 22 compensation for personal services actually rendered; ... and Revenue Regulations No. 2, Section 70 (1), reading as follows: SEC. 70. Compensation for personal services.--Among the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred in carrying on any trade or business may be included a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services actually rendered. The test of deductibility in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable and are, in fact, payments purely for service. This test and deductibility in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable and are, in fact, payments purely for service. This test and its practical application may be further stated and illustrated as follows: Any amount paid in the form of compensation, but not in fact as the purchase price of services, is not deductible. (a) An ostensible salary paid by a corporation may be a distribution of a dividend on stock. This is likely to occur in the case of a corporation having few stockholders, Practically all of whom draw salaries. If in such a case the salaries are in excess of those ordinarily paid for similar services, and the excessive payment correspond or bear a close relationship to the stockholdings of the officers of employees, it would seem likely that the salaries are not paid wholly for services rendered, but the excessive

payments are a distribution of earnings upon the stock. . . . (Promulgated Feb. 11, 1931, 30 O.G. No. 18, 325.) It is worth noting at this point that most of the payees were not in the regular 23 employ of Algue nor were they its controlling stockholders. The Solicitor General is correct when he says that the burden is on the taxpayer to prove the validity of the claimed deduction. In the present case, however, we find that the onus has been discharged satisfactorily. The private respondent has proved that the payment of the fees was necessary and reasonable in the light of the efforts exerted by the payees in inducing investors and prominent businessmen to venture in an experimental enterprise and involve themselves in a new business requiring millions of pesos. This was no mean feat and should be, as it was, sufficiently recompensed. It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilization society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of the motive power to activate and operate it. Hence, despite the natural reluctance to surrender part of one's hard earned income to the taxing authorities, every person who is able to must contribute his share in the running of the government. The government for its part, is expected to respond in the form of tangible and intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people and enhance their moral and material values. This symbiotic relationship is the rationale of taxation and should dispel the erroneous notion that it is an arbitrary method of exaction by those in the seat of power. But even as we concede the inevitability and indispensability of taxation, it is a requirement in all democratic regimes that it be exercised reasonably and in accordance with the prescribed procedure. If it is not, then the taxpayer has a right to complain and the courts will then come to his succor. For all the awesome power of the tax collector, he may still be stopped in his tracks if the taxpayer can demonstrate, as it has here, that the law has not been observed. We hold that the appeal of the private respondent from the decision of the petitioner was filed on time with the respondent court in accordance with Rep. Act No. 1125. And we also find that the claimed deduction by the private respondent was permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and should therefore not have been disallowed by the petitioner. ACCORDINGLY, the appealed decision of the Court of Tax Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto, without costs.

SO ORDERED. Teehankee, C.J., Narvasa, Gancayco and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.


ARTURO M. TOLENTINO VS. THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE 1994 Aug 25 G.R. No. 115455 235 SCRA 630 FACTS: The valued-added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale, barter or exchange of goods and properties as well as on the sale or exchange of services. It is equivalent to 10% of the gross selling price or gross value in money of goods or properties sold, bartered or exchanged or of the gross receipts from the sale or exchange of services. Republic Act No. 7716 seeks to widen the tax base of the existing VAT system and enhance its administration by amending the National Internal Revenue Code. The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) contends that the imposition of VAT on sales and leases by virtue of contracts entered into prior to the effectivity of the law would violate the constitutional provision of non-impairment of contracts.

as between parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a basic postulate of the legal order. The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. In truth, the Contract Clause has never been thought as a limitation on the exercise of the State's power of taxation save only where a tax exemption has been granted for a valid consideration. Such is not the case of PAL in G.R. No. 115852, and the Court does not understand it to make this claim. Rather, its position, as discussed above, is that the removal of its tax exemption cannot be made by a general, but only by a specific, law. Further, the Supreme Court held the validity of Republic Act No. 7716 in its formal and substantive aspects as this has been raised in the various cases before it. To sum up, the Court holds: (1) That the procedural requirements of the Constitution have been complied with by Congress in the enactment of the statute; (2) That judicial inquiry whether the formal requirements for the enactment of statutes - beyond those prescribed by the Constitution have been observed is precluded by the principle of separation of powers; (3) That the law does not abridge freedom of speech, expression or the press, nor interfere with the free exercise of religion, nor deny to any of the parties the right to an education; and

ISSUE: Whether R.A. No. 7716 is unconstitutional on ground that it violates the contract clause under Art. III, sec 10 of the Bill of Rights.

RULING: No. The Supreme Court the contention of CREBA, that the imposition of the VAT on the sales and leases of real estate by virtue of contracts entered into prior to the effectivity of the law would violate the constitutional provision of non-impairment of contracts, is only slightly less abstract but nonetheless hypothetical. It is enough to say that the parties to a contract cannot, through the exercise of prophetic discernment, fetter the exercise of the taxing power of the State. For not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix obligations

(4) That, in view of the absence of a factual foundation of record, claims that the law is regressive, oppressive and confiscatory and that it violates vested rights protected under the Contract Clause are prematurely raised and do not justify the grant of prospective relief by writ of prohibition. WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED.

Lutz vs Araneta Case Digest

WALTER LUTZ VS. ANTONIO ARANETA G.R. NO. L-7859 DECEMBER 22, 1955 FACTS: 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 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. 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 constitutionally levied. The action having been dismissed by the Court

of First Instance, the plaintiffs appealed the case directly to this Court (Judiciary Act, section 17). ISSUE: Whether or not the CA No. 567 or Sugar Adjustment Act is constitutional and for public purpose. HELD: 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, 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. 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 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. 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". 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".


TAADA VS. TUVERA FACTS: Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations, executive orders, letters of implementation and administrative orders. Respondents, through the Solicitor General would have this case dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that the petitioner are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by the alleged nonpublication of the presidential issuances in question. Respondent further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of the law where the law themselves provides for their own effectivity dates. ISSUES: Whether the presidential decrees in question which contain special provisions as to the date they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity? RULING: Publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date, for then the date of publication is material for determining its date of

effectivity, which is the 15th day following its publication, but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect. Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. The publication of all presidential issuances of a public nature or of general applicability is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or otherwise impose burdens on the people, such as tax revenue measures, fall within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons such as administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that they have been circularized to all concern. The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been published, shall have no force and effect.

Lung Center of the Philippines vs. Quezon City [GR No. 144104 June 29, 2004] Post under case digests, Taxation at Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind Facts: Lung Center of the Philippines is a non-stock and non-profit entity established by virtue of PD No. 1823. It is the registered owner of the land on which the Lung Center of the Philippines Hospital is erected. A big space in the ground floor of the hospital is being leased to private parties, for canteen and small store spaces, and to medical or professional practitioners who use the same as theirprivate clinics. Also, a big portion on the right side of the hospital is being leased for commercial purposes to a private enterprise known as the Elliptical Orchids and Garden Center.

When the City Assessor of Quezon City assessed both its land and hospital building for real property taxes, the Lung Center of the Philippines filed a claim for exemption on its averment that it is a charitable institution with a minimum of 60% of its hospital bedsexclusively used for charity patients and that the major thrust of its hospital operation is to serve charity patients. The claim for exemption was denied, prompting a petition for the reversal of the resolution of the City Assessor with the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Quezon City, which denied the same. On appeal, the Central Board of Assessment Appeals of Quezon City affirmed the

local boards decision, finding that Lung Center of the Philippines is not a charitable institution and that its properties were not actually, directly and exclusively used for charitable purposes. Hence, the present petition for review with averments that the Lung Center of the Philippines is a charitable institution under Section 28(3), Article VI of the Constitution, notwithstanding that it accepts paying patients and rents out portions of the hospital building to private

However, under the Constitution, in order to be entitled to exemption from real property tax, there must be clear and unequivocal proof that (1) it is a charitable institution and (2)its real properties are ACTUALLY, DIRECTLY and EXCLUSIVELY used for charitable purposes. While portions of the hospital are used for treatment of patients and the dispensation of medical services to them, whether paying or non-paying, other portions thereof are being leased toprivate individuals and enterprises.

individualsand enterprises.

Issue: Is the Lung Center of the Philippines a charitable institution within the context of the Constitution, and therefore, exempt from real property tax?

Exclusive is defined as possessed and enjoyed to the exclusion of others, debarred from participation or enjoyment. If real property is used for one or more commercial purposes, it is not exclusively used for the exempted purposes but is subject to taxation.

Held: The Lung Center of the Philippines is a charitable institution. To determine whether an enterprise is a charitable institution or not, the elements which should be considered include the statute creating the enterprise, its corporate purposes, its constitution and by-laws, the methods of administration, the nature of the actual work performed, that character of the services rendered, the

indefiniteness of the beneficiaries and the use and occupation of the properties.