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Republic v Acebedo G.R No.

L-20477 March 29, 1968

Facts: A suit for collection of deficiency tax was filed against herein respondent Felix Acebedo in the amount of P5,962 for the year 1948. A notice of assessment was issued on September 24, 1949. The respondent filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of prescription. He claimed that the notice of levy/distraint was filed beyond the 5 year limitation from the assessment. The motion was granted by the lower court and the same dismissed the case. Hence, the petitioner Republic filed an appeal with this court, contending that the various requests for reinvestigation made by the respondent suspended the 5 year period prescription period and that the waiver of statute of limitations duly executed in 1959 was sufficient to further suspend period of prescription. Issue: Whether or not a request for a reinvestigation suspends the running of the period for filing an action for collection? Whether or not the waiver of limitations suspended the period? Held: No. The court is aware that it was held in Commissioner of Internal Revenue, vs. Consolidated Mining Company that a taxpayer may be prevented from setting up the defense of prescription even if he has not previously waived it in writing when by his repeated requests or positive acts the Government has been, for good reasons, persuaded to postpone collection to make him feel that the demand was not unreasonable or that no harassment or injustice is meant by the Government. However, when a taxpayer asks for a reinvestigation of the tax assessment issued to him and such reinvestigation is made, on the basis of which the Government makes another assessment, the five-year period with which an action for collection may be commenced should be counted from this last assessment. In this case, even after the request for reinvestigation was made, the petitioner did not act upon it, hence, the request for reinvestigation did not suspend the running of the period for filing an action for collection. Moreover, up to October 4, 1955 the delay in collection could not be attributed to the defendant at all. His requests in fact had been unheeded until then, and there was nothing to impede enforcement of the tax liability by any of the means provided by law. By October 4, 1955, more than five years had elapsed since assessment in question was made, making subsequent events in connection with the said assessment irrelevant. Even the written waiver of the statute signed by the defendant on December 17, 1959 could no longer revive the right of action, for under the law such waiver must be executed within the original five-year period within which suit could be commenced.