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2.

Before the Court are consolidated petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as amended, filed by petitioner Commissioner
of Internal Revenue (CIR):

1. G.R. No. 197945 assailing the Decision1 dated February 22, 2011 and Resolution2 dated July 27, 2011 of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) in CTA En
Banc Case No. 535; and

2. G.R. Nos. 204119-20 assailing the Decision3 dated March 21, 2012 and Resolution4 dated October 10, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
Nos. 55329-30.

Respondents Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell) and Petron Corporation (Petron) are domestic corporations engaged in the production of
petroleum products and are duly registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) under the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987. 5

On different occasions during 1988 to 1996, respondents separately sold bunker oil and other fuel products to other BOI-registered entities engaged in
the export of their own manufactured goods (BOI export entities).6 These BOI-registered export entities used Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) originally
issued in their name to pay for these purchases.

To proceed with this mode of payment, the BOI-registered export entities executed Deeds of Assignment in favor of respondents, transferring the
TCCs to the latter. Subsequently, the Department of Finance (DOF), through its One Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center
(DOF Center), approved the Deeds of Assignment.7

Thereafter, respondents sought the DOF Center's permission to use the assigned TCCs in settling respondents' own excise tax liabilities. The DOF
Center issued Tax Debit Memoranda (DOF TD Ms) addressed to the Collection Program Division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),8 allowing
respondents to do so.

Thus, to pay for their excise tax liabilities from 1992 to 1997 (Covered Years),9 respondents presented the DOF TDMs to the BIR. The BIR accepted
the TDMs and issued the following: (a) TDMs signed by the BIR Assistant Commissioner for Collection Service10 (BIR TDMs); (b) Authorities to Accept
Payment for Excise Taxes (ATAPETs) signed by the BIR Regional District Officer; and (c) corresponding instructions to BIR's authorized agent banks
to accept respondents' payments in the form of BIR TDMs.11

Three significant incidents arising from the foregoing antecedents resulted in the filing of several petitions before this Court, viz.:

Significant Incidents Resultant Petition/s before the Court

(a) 1998 Collection Letters issued by the BIR against respondents G.R. Nos. 204119-20 (one of the present petitions)

(b) 1999 Assessments issued by the BIR against respondents Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, G.R. No. 172598, December 21, 2007 (2007 Shell Case)
Petron Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No.
180385, July 28, 2010 (2010 Petron Case)

(c) 2002 Collection Letter issued by the BIR against respondent Shell G.R. No. 197945 (one of the present petitions)

Said incidents and petitions are discussed in detail below.

A. 1998 Collection Letters


(G.R. Nos. 204119-20)

In its collection letters12 dated April 22, 1998 (1998 Collection Letters) addressed to respondents' respective presidents, the BIR 13 pointed out that
respondents partly paid for their excise tax liabilities during the Covered Years using TCCs issued in the names of other companies; invalidated
respondents' tax payments using said TCCs; and requested respondent Shell and respondent Petron to pay their delinquent tax liabilities amounting to
₱1,705,028,008.06 and ₱1,107,542,547.08, respectively. The 1998 Collection Letters similarly read:

Our records show that for the years x x x, you have been paying part of your excise tax liabilities in the form of Tax Credit Certificate (TCC) which bear
the name of a company other than yours in violation of Rule IX of the Rules and Regulations issued by the Board of Investments to implement P.D. No.
1789 and B.P. 391. Accordingly, your payment through the aforesaid TCC's are considered invalid and therefore, you are hereby requested to
pay the amount of x x x inclusive of delinquency for late payments as of even date, covering the years heretofore mentioned within thirty days (30) from
receipt hereof, lest we will be constrained to resort to administrative and legal remedies available in accordance with law. (Emphasis supplied.)

Respondents separately filed their administrative protests 14 against the 1998 Collection Letters, but the BIR denied 15 said protests. The BIR maintained
that the transfers of the TCCs from the BOI-registered export entities to respondents and the use of the same TCCs by respondents to pay for their
self-assessed specific tax liabilities were invalid, and reiterated its demand that respondents pay their delinquent taxes.

This prompted respondent Petron to file a Petition for Review16 before the CTA docketed as CTA Case No. 5657.
As for respondent Shell, it first requested for reconsideration of the denial of its protest by the BIR.17 However, while said request for reconsideration
was pending, the BIR issued a Warrant of Garnishment18 against respondent Shell. Taking this as a denial of its request for reconsideration, respondent
Shell likewise filed a Petition for Review19before the CTA docketed as CTA Case No. 5728.

In their respective petitions before the CTA, respondents raised similar arguments against petitioner, to wit: (a) The collection of tax without prior
assessment was a denial of the taxpayer's right to due process; (b) The use of TCCs as payment of excise tax liabilities was valid; (c) Since the BIR
approved the transfers and subsequent use of the TCCs, it was estopped from questioning the validity thereof; and (d) The BIR's right to collect the
alleged delinquent taxes had already prescribed.

The CTA granted respondents' petitions in separate Decisions both dated July 23, 1999, decreeing as follows:

CTA Case No. 5657

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED. The collection of the alleged delinquent excise taxes in
the amount of ₱1,107 ,542,54 7 .08 is hereby CANCELLED AND SET ASIDE for being contrary to law. Accordingly, [herein petitioner and BIR
Regional Director of Makati, Region No. 8] are ENJOINED from collecting the said amount of taxes against [herein respondent Petron].20

CTA Case No. 5728

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition for review is GRANTED. The collection letter issued by [herein petitioner] dated April 22,
1998 is considered withdrawn and he is ENJOINED from any attempts to collect from [herein respondent Shell] the specific tax, surcharge and interest
subject of this petition.21

In both Decisions, the CTA upheld the validity of the TCC transfers from the BOI-registered export entities to respondents, the latter having complied
with the requirements of transferability. The CTA further ruled that the BIR' s attempt to collect taxes without an assessment was a denial of due
process and a violation of Section 22822 of the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines of 1997 (Tax Code). The CTA also noted that the BIR
might have purposely avoided the issuance of a formal assessment because its right to assess majority of respondents' alleged delinquent taxes had
already prescribed.

Petitioner's motions for reconsideration of the above-mentioned decisions were denied by the CTA. 23 Thus, petitioner CIR sought recourse before the
Court of Appeals24 through the consolidated petitions docketed as CA-G.R. SP Nos. 55329-30.

However, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petitions and found the transfer and utilization of the subject TCCs were valid, in accordance with
the 2007 Shell Case.25 The appellate court eventually denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

Undaunted, petitioner CIR filed the present petition docketed as G.R. Nos. 204119-20.

B. 1999 Assessments (The


2007 Shell Case and
2010 Petron Case)

During the pendency of the consolidated petitions in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 55329-30 before the Court of Appeals, the DOF Center conducted separate
post-audit procedures26 on all of the TCCs acquired and used by respondents during the Covered Years, requiring them to submit documents to
support their acquisition of the TCCs from the BOI-registered export entities. As a result of its post-audit procedures, the DOF Center cancelled the first
batch of the transferred TCCs27 used by respondent Shell and Petron, with aggregate amount of ₱830,560,791.00 and ₱284,390,845.00, respectively.

Following the cancellation of the TCCs, petitioner issued separate assessment letters to respondents in November 1999 (1999 Assessments) for the
payment of deficiency excise taxes, surcharges, and interest for the Covered Years, which were also covered by the 1998 Collection Letters.
Respondents filed their respective administrative protests against said assessments. While petitioner denied respondent Shell's protest, he did not act
upon that of respondent Petron.

B.1 The 2007 Shell Case

Respondent Shell raised petitioner's denial of its protest through a petition for review before the CTA, docketed as CTA Case No. 6003. The CTA
Division rendered a Decision dated August 2, 2004 granting said petition and cancelled and set aside the assessment against respondent Shell; but
then the CTA en bane, in its Decision dated April 28, 2006, set aside the CTA Division's judgment and ordered respondent Shell to pay petitioner
deficiency excise tax, surcharges, and interest. Hence, respondent Shell filed a petition for review before this Court docketed as G.R. No. 172598,
the 2007 Shell Case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The April 28, 2006 CTA En Banc Decision in CTA EB No. 64 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and
the August 2, 2004 CT A Decision in CTA Case No. 6003 disallowing the assessment is hereby REINSTATED. The assessment of respondent for
deficiency excise taxes against petitioner for 1992 and 1994 to 1997 inclusive contained in the April 22, 1998 letter of respondent is cancelled and
declared without force and effect for lack of legal basis. No pronouncement as to costs.28

In nullifying petitioner's assessments, the Court upheld the TCCs' validity, respondent Shell's qualifications as transferees of said TCCs, respondent
Shell's status as a transferee in good faith and for value, and respondent Shell's right to due process.
The 2007 Shell Case became final and executory on March 17, 2008.29

B.2 The 2010 Petron Case

Considering petitioner's inaction on its protest, respondent Petron likewise filed a petition for review with the CT A, docketed as CT A Case No. 6136,
to challenge the assessment. In a Decision dated August 23, 2006, the CTA Division denied the petition and ordered respondent Petron to pay
petitioner deficiency excise taxes, surcharges, and interest. Said judgment was subsequently affirmed by the CTA En Banc in. its Decision dated
October 30, 2007. This prompted respondent Petron to seek relief from this Court through a petition for review, docketed as G.R. No. 180385, the 2010
Petron Case. 30

Citing the 2007 Shell Case, the Court similarly cancelled the 1.999 assessment against respondent Petron and decided the 2010 Petron Case as
follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED and the October 30, 2007 CTA En Banc Decision in CTA EB No. 238 is, accordingly,
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof, another is entered invalidating respondent's Assessment of petitioner's deficiency excise taxes for the
years 1995 to 1997 for lack of legal bases. No pronouncement as to costs. 31

Entry of Judgment32 was made in the 2010 Petron Case on November 2, 2010.

C. 2002 Collection Letter


(G.R. No. 197945)

Meanwhile, during the pendency of respondent Shell's CTA Case No. 6003 (which was eventually elevated to this Court in the 2007 Shell Case), the
BIR requested respondent Shell to pay its purported excise tax liabilities amounting to ₱234,555,275.48, in a collection letter33 dated June 17, 2002
(2002 Collection Letter), which read:

Collection Letter

xxxx

Our records show that a letter dated January 30, 2002 was served to you by our Collection Service, for the collection of cancelled Tax Credit
Certificates and Tax Debit Memos which were used to pay your 1995 to 1998 excise tax liabilities. Said cancellation was embodied in EXCOM
Resolution No. 03-05-99 of the Tax & Duty Drawback Center of the Department of Finance. Upon verification by this Office, however, some of these
TCCs/TDMs were already included in the tax case previously filed in [the] Court of Tax Appeals. Accordingly, the collectible amount has been reduced
from ₱691,508,005.82 to ₱234,555,275.48, the summary of which is hereto attached for your ready reference.

Basic ₱ 87,893,876.00

Surcharge 21,973,469.00

Interest 124,687 ,930.48

TOTAL ₱ 234,555,275.48

In view thereof, you are hereby requested to pay the aforesaid tax liability/ties within ten (10) days from receipt hereof thru any authorized agent
bank x x x Should you fail to do so, this Office, much to our regret, will be constrained to enforce the collection of the said amount thru
the summary administrative remedies provided by law, without any further notice. (Emphasis supplied.)

DOFExecutive Committee Resolution No. 03-05-99 referred to in the aforequoted Collection Letter prescribed the guidelines and procedures for the
cancellation, recall, and recovery of fraudulently-issued TCCs.

Respondent Shell filed on July 11, 2002 its administrative protest34 to the 2002 Collection Letter. However, without resolving said protest,
petitioner35 issued a Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy dated September 12, 2002 for the satisfaction of the following alleged tax delinquency of
respondent Shell:

WHEREAS, THERE IS DUE FROM:

PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORP.

xxxx

The sum of TWO HUNDRED THIRTY[-]FOUR MILLION FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY[-]FIVE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY[-]FIVE PESOS AND
48 CENTAVOS as Internal Revenue Taxes shown hereunder, plus all increments incident to delinquency.
Assessment Notice No. : Unnumbered

Date Issued : January 30, 2002

Tax Type : Excise Tax

Period Covered : Various Dates (December 18, 1995 to July 03, 1997)

Amount : ₱234,555,275.48

WHEREAS, the said taxpayer failed and refused and still fails and refuses to pay the same notwithstanding demands made by this Office. 36

Aggrieved, respondent Shell filed a petition for review37 before the CTA docketed as CTA Case No. 6547, arguing that: (a) the issuance of the 2002
Collection Letter and Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy and enforcement of DOF Center's Executive Committee Resolution No. 03-05- 99 violated its.
right to due process; (b) The DOF Center did not have authority to cancel the TC Cs; (c) The TCCs' transfers and utilizations were valid and legal; (d) It
was an innocent purchaser for value; (e) The BIR was estopped from invalidating the transfer and utilization of the TC Cs; and (f) The BIR's right to
collect had already prescribed.

The CTA Second Division ruled in favor of respondent Shell in its Decision38 dated April 30, 2009:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED. The Collection Letters and Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy
are CANCELLED and declared without force and effect for lack of legal basis.39

After the CTA Division denied40 his motion for reconsideration, petitioner elevated the case to the CTA En Banc via a petition for review41 docketed as
CTA EB No. 535.

In its Decision dated February 22, 2011, the CTA En Banc denied the petition and affirmed the judgment of the CTA Division.

The CTA En Banc resolved the issues relying on the 2007 Shell Case. Pursuant to this ruling, the real issue is not whether the BOI-registered export
entities validly procured the TCCs from the DOF Center, but whether respondent Shell fraudulently obtained the TCCs from said BOI-registered export
entities.

The CTA En Banc brushed aside petitioner's argument that respondent Shell was aware that the transferred TCCs were subject to post-audit
procedures. It explained that the TCCs were valid and effective upon issuance and were not subject to post-audit procedures as a suspensive
condition. Further, the TCCs could no longer be cancelled once these had been fully utilized or duly applied against any outstanding tax liability of an
innocent transferee for value.

In this regard, the CTA En Banc found that respondent Shell did not participate in any fraud attending the issuance of the TCCs, as well as its
subsequent transfers. Thus, respondent Shell is an innocent transferee in good faith and for value and could not be prejudiced by fraud attending the
TCCs' procurement.

In the absence of fraud, petitioner could only reassess Shell for deficiency tax within the three-year prescriptive period under Section 203 of the Tax
Code, not the 10-year period under Section 222(a) of the same Code. Further, petitioner violated respondent Shell's right to due process when he
issued the 2002 Collection Letter without a Notice of Informal Conference (NIC) or a Preliminary Assessment Notice as required by Revenue
Regulations No. (RR) 12-99.

The CIR moved for reconsideration but was denied.

Hence, petitioner now comes before this Court citing in the petitions at bar the following errors allegedly committed by the courts a quo in G.R. Nos.
204119-20 and G.R. No. 197945:

G.R. Nos. 204119-20

The Court of Appeals erred:

I.

IN NOT HOLDING THAT RESPONDENTS SHELL AND PETRON WERE NOT QUALIFIED TRANSFEREES OF THE TAX CREDIT CERTIFICATES
(TCCs) SINCE THEY WERE NOT SUPPLIERS OF DOMESTIC CAPITAL EQUIPMENT OR OF RAW MATERIAL AND/OR COMPONENTS TO THEIR
TRANSFERORS.

II.

IN NOT HOLDING THAT SINCE RESPONDENTS WERE NOT QUALIFIED TRANSFEREES OF THE TCCs, THE SAME COULD NOT BE VALIDLY
USED IN PA YING THEIR EXCISE TAX LIABILITIES.
III.

IN NOT HOLDING THAT GOVERNMENT IS NOT ESTOPPED FROM COLLECTING TAXES DUE TO THE MISTAKES OF ITS AGENTS.

IV.

IN NOT HOLDING THAT SHELL WAS ACCORDED DUE PROCESS IN PETITIONER'S ATTEMPT TO COLLECT ITS EXCISE TAX LIABILITIES. 42

G.R. No. 197945

I. The CTA EN BANC COMMITTED GRIEVOUS ERROR IN NOT RULING ON THE VALIDITY OF THE TCCs AND ITS CONSEQUENT EFFECTS ON
THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS ASSUMED BY RESPONDENT.

II. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED GRIEVOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT IS AN INNOCENT TRANSFEREE OF THE DISPUTED
TCCs IN GOOD FAITH.

III. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED GRIEVOUS ERROR IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT LIABLE TO PAY EXCISE TAXES.

IV.. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED GRIEVOUS ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ESTOPPED FROM NULLIFYING THE
TCCs, AND DECLARING THEIR USE, TRANSFER AND UTILIZATION AS FRAUDULENT.

V. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED GRIEVOUS ERROR IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS.

VI. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED A GRIEVOUS ERROR IN DECLARING THAT THE PERIOD TO COLLECT RESPONDENT'S UNPAID EXCISE
TAXES HAS ALREADY PRESCRIBED.

VII. THE CTA EN BANC COMMITTED A GRIEVOUS ERROR IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT LIABLE TO PAY SURCHARGES AND
INTERESTS.43

The Ruling of the Court

The petitions are without merit.

The issues concerning the


transferred TCCs' validity,
respondents' qualifications as
transferees of said TCCs, and the
respondents' valid use of the TCCs to
pay for their excise tax liabilities for
the Covered Years had been finally
settled in the 2007 Shell Case and
2010 Petron Case and are already
barred from being re-litigated
herein by the doctrine of res judicata in the
concept of conclusiveness of
judgment.

While the present petitions, on one hand, and the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case, on the other hand, involve identical parties and originate
from the same factual antecedents, there are also substantial distinctions between these cases, for which reason, the Court cannot simply dismiss the
former on account of the latter based on the doctrine of.res judicata in· the concept of "bar.by prior judgment."

The 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case were assessment cases. These initiated from respondents' protests of the 1999 Assessments issued by
petitioner CIR against them for deficiency excise taxes, surcharges, and interest, following cancellation of the transferred TCCs and the corresponding
TDMs which respondents used to pay for said excise taxes. Said cases were primarily concerned with the legality and propriety of petitioner's issuance
of the 1999 Assessments against respondents.

In contrast, the consolidated petitions now before the Court arose from respondents' protests of petitioner's 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters for
essentially the same excise tax deficiencies covered by the 1999 Assessments, but apparently issued and pursued by the petitioner and BIR
separately from and concurrently with the assessment cases. At the crux of these cases is petitioner's right to collect the deficiency excise taxes from
respondents.

In the instant petitions, petitioner asserts his right to collect as excise tax deficiencies the excise tax liabilities which respondents had previously settled
using the transferred TCCs, impugning the TCCs' validity on account of fraud as well as respondents' qualifications as transferees of said TCCs.
However, respondents already raised the same arguments and the Court definitively ruled thereon in its final and executory decisions in the 2007 Shell
Case and 2010 Petron Case.
The re-litigation of these issues in the present petitions, when said issues had already been settled with finality in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron
Case, is precluded by res judicata in the concept of "conclusiveness of judgment."

In Ocha v. Calos,44 the Court extensively explained the doctrine of res judicata in the concept of "conclusiveness of judgment," thus:

The doctrine of res judicata as embodied in Section 47, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states:

SECTION 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. - The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to
pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows:

xxxx

(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in
relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special
proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; and

(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors-in-interest, that only is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or
final order which appears upon its face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto.

It must be pointed out at this point that, contrary to the insistence of the Caloses, the doctrine of res judicata applies to both judicial and quasi-judicial
proceedings. The doctrine actually embraces two (2) concepts: the first is "bar by prior judgment" under paragraph (b) of Rule 39, Section 47, and the
second is "conclusiveness of judgment" under paragraph (c) thereof. In the present case, the second concept - conclusiveness of judgment - applies.
The said concept is explained in this manner:

[A] fact or question which was in issue in a former suit and was there judicially passed upon and determined by a court of competent
jurisdiction, is conclusively settled by the judgment therein as far as the parties to that action and persons in privity with them are
concerned and cannot be again litigated in any future action between such parties or their privies, in the same court or any other court of
concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or different cause of action, while the judgment remains unreversed by proper authority. It has
been held that in order that a judgment in one action can be conclusive as to a particular matter in another action between the same parties or their
privies, it is essential that the issue be identical. If a particular point or question is in issue in the second action, and the judgment will depend on the
determination of that particular point or question, a former judgment between the same parties or their privies will be final and conclusive in the
second if that same point or question was in issue and adjudicated in the first suit. x x x.

Although the action instituted by the Caloses in Adm. Case No. 006-90 (Anomalies/Irregularities in OL T Transfer Action and Other Related Activities)
is different from the action in Adm. Case No. (X)-014 (Annulment of Deeds of Assignment, Emancipation Patents and Transfer Certificate of Titles,
Retention and Recovery of Possession and Ownership), the concept of conclusiveness of judgment still applies because under this principle "the
identity of causes of action is not required but merely identity of issues."

[Simply] put, conclusiveness of judgment bars the relitigation of particular facts or issues in another litigation between the same parties on a
different claim or cause of action. In Lopez vs. Reyes, we expounded on the concept of conclusiveness of judgment as follows:

The general rule precluding the relitigation of material facts or questions which were in issue and adjudicated in former action are commonly applied to
all matters essentially connected with the subject matter of litigation. Thus it extends to questions necessarily involved in an issue, and necessarily
adjudicated, or necessarily implied in the final judgment, although no specific finding may have been made in reference thereto, and although such
matters were directly referred to in the pleadings and were not actually or formally presented. Under this rule, if the record of the former trial shows that
the judgment could not have been rendered without deciding the particular matter, it will be considered as having settled that matter as to all future
actions between the parties, and if a judgment necessarily presupposes certain premises, they are as conclusive as the judgment itself. Reasons for
the rule are that a judgment is an adjudication on all the matters which are essential to support it, and that every proposition assumed or decided by the
court leading up to the final conclusion upon which such conclusion is based is as effectually passed upon as the ultimate question which is solved.

xxxx

As held in Legarda vs. Savellano:

x x x It is a general rule common to all civilized system of jurisprudence, that the solemn and deliberate sentence of the law, pronounced by its
appointed organs, upon a disputed fact or a state of facts, should be regarded as a final and conclusive determination of the question litigated, and
should forever set the controversy at rest. Indeed, it has been well said that this maxim is more than a mere rule of law; more even than an important
principle of public policy; and that it is not too much to say that it is a fundamental concept in the organization of every jural system. Public policy and
sound practice demand that, at the risk of occasional errors, judgments of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law. The
veryobject for which courts were constituted was to put an end to controversies.

The findings of the Hearing Officer in Adm. Case No. 006-90, which had long attained finality, that petitioner is not the owner of other agricultural lands
foreclosed any inquiry on the same issue involving the same parties and property. The CA thus erred in still making a finding that petitioner is not
qualified to be a farmer-beneficiary because he owns other agricultural lands. (Emphases supplied, citations omitted.)

In the 2007 Shell Case, the Court affirmed the validity of the TCCs, the transfer of the TCCs to respondent Shell, and the use of the transferred TCCs
by respondent Shell to partly pay for its excise tax liabilities for the Covered Years. The Court ratiocinated as follows: First, the results of post-audit
procedures conducted in connection with the TCCs should not operate as a suspensive condition to the TCCs' validity. Second, while it was one of the
conditions appearing on the face of· the TCCs, the post-audit contemplated therein did not pertain to the TC Cs' genuineness or validity, but to
computational discrepancies that might have resulted from their utilization and transfer. Third, the DOF Center or DOF could not compel respondent
Shell to submit sales documents for the purported post-audit. As a BOI-registered enterprise, respondent Shell was a qualified transferee of the subject
TCCs, pursuant to existing rules and regulations.45 Fourth, respondent Shell was a transferee in good faith and for value as it secured the necessary
approvals from various government agencies before it used and applied the transferred TCCs against its tax liabilities and it did not participate in the
perpetuation of fraudulent acts in the procurement of the said TCCs. As a transferee in good faith, respondent Shell could not be prejudiced with a re-
assessment of excise tax liabilities it had already settled when due using the subject TCCs nor by any fraud attending the procurement of the subject
TCCs. Fifth, while the DOF Center was authorized to cancel TCCs it might have erroneously issued, it could no longer exercise such authority after the
subject TCCs have already been utilized and accepted as payment for respondent Shell's excise tax liabilities. What had been used up, debited, and
cancelled could no longer be voided and cancelled anew. While the State was not estopped by the neglect or omission of its agents, this principle
could not be applied to the prejudice of an innocent transferee in good faith and for value.

And finally, the Court found in the 2007 Shell Case that respondent Shell's right to due process was violated. Petitioner did not issue a Notice of
1âwphi 1

Informal Conference (NIC) and Preliminary Assessment Notice (PAN) to respondent Shell, in violation of the formal assessment procedure required by
Revenue Regulations No. (RR) 12-99.46 Petitioner merely relied on theDOF Center's findings supporting the cancellation of respondent Shell's TCCs.
Thus, the Court voided the assessment dated November 15, 1999 issued by the CIR against herein respondent Shell.

On the other hand, the Court resolved the 2010 Petron Case in accordance with its ruling in the 2007 Shell Case,reiterating that: First, the subject
TCCs' validity and effectivity should be immediate and should not be dependent on the outcome of a post-audit as a suspensive
condition. Second, respondent Petron could not be prejudiced by fraud alleged to have attended such issuance as it was not privy to the issuance of
the subject TCCs and it had already used said TCCs in settling its tax liabilities. Third, respondent Petron was also an innocent transferee in good faith
and for value because it was a qualified transferee of the TCCs based on existing rules and regulations and the TCCs' transfers were approved by the
appropriate government agencies. And fourth, while the government cannot be estopped from collecting taxes by the mistake, negligence, or omission
of its agents, the rights of a transferee in good faith and for value should be protected.

The Court's aforementioned findings in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case are conclusive and binding upon this Court in the petitions at
bar. Res judicata by conclusiveness of judgment bars the Court from re-litigating the issues on the TC Cs' validity and respondents' qualifications as
transferees in these cases. As a result of such findings in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case, then respondents could not have had excise tax
deficiencies for the Covered Years as they had validly paid for and settled their excise tax liabilities using the transferred TCCs.

In any case, the present petitions are


dismissed as petitioner violated
respondents' right to due process for
failing to observe the prescribed
procedure for collection of unpaid
taxes through summary
administrative remedies.

The Court dismisses the present petitions for it cannot allow petitioner to collect any excise tax deficiency from respondents by mere issuance of the
1998 and 2002 Collection Letters. Petitioner had failed to comply with the prescribed procedure for collection of unpaid taxes through summary
administrative remedies and, thus, violated respondents' right to due process.

That taxation is an essential attribute of sovereignty and the lifeblood of every nation- are doctrines well-entrenched in our jurisdiction. Taxes are the
government's primary means to generate funds needed to fulfill its mandate of promoting the general welfare and well-being of the people47 and so
should be collected without unnecessary hindrance. 48

While taxation per se is generally legislative in nature, collection of tax is administrative in character. 49 Thus, Congress delegated the assessment and
collection of all national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges to the BIR.50 And as the BIR's chief, the CIR has the power to make assessments
and prescribe additional requirements for tax administration and enforcement. 51

The Tax Code provides two types of remedies to enforce the collection of unpaid taxes, to wit: (a) summary administrative remedies, such as the
distraint and/or levy of taxpayer's property;52 and/or (b)judicial remedies,such as the filing of a criminal or civil action against the erring taxpayer. 53

Verily, pursuant to the lifeblood doctrine, the Court has allowed tax authorities ample discretion to avail themselves of the most expeditious way to
collect the taxes, 54 including summary processes, with as little interference as possible. 55 However, the Court, at the same time, has not hesitated to
strike down these processes in cases wherein tax authorities disregarded due process. 56 The BIR' s power to collect taxes must yield to the
fundamental rule that no person shall be deprived of his/her property without due process of law.57 The rule is that taxes must be collected
reasonably and in accordance with the prescribed procedure.58

In the normal course of tax administration and enforcement, the BIR must first make an assessment then enforce the collection of the amounts so
assessed. "An assessment is not an action or proceeding for the collection of taxes. x x x It is a step preliminary, but essential to warrant distraint, if
still feasible, and, also, to establish a cause for judicial action. "59 The BIR may summarily enforce collection only when it has accorded the taxpayer
administrative due process, which vitally includes the issuance of a valid assessment. 60 A valid assessment sufficiently informs the taxpayer in
writing of the legal and factual bases of the said assessment, thereby allowing the taxpayer to effectively protest the assessment and adduce
supporting evidence in its behalf.

In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Reyes61 (Reyes Case), the petitioner issued an assessment notice and a demand letter for alleged deficiency
estate tax against the taxpayer estate. The assessment notice and demand letter simply notified the taxpayer estate of petitioner's findings, without
stating the factual and legal bases for said assessment. The Court, absent a valid assessment, refused to accord validity and effect to petitioner's
collection efforts - which involved, among other things, the successive issuances of a collection letter, a final notice before seizure, and a warrant of
distraint and/or levy against the taxpayer estate - and declared that:
x x x [P]etitioner violated the cardinal rule in administrative law that the taxpayer be accorded due process. Not only was the law here disregarded, but
no valid notice was sent, either. A void assessment bears no valid fruit.

The law imposes a substantive, not merely a formal, requirement. To proceed heedlessly with tax collection without first establishing a valid
assessment is evidently violative of the cardinal principle in administrative investigations: thattaxpayers should be able to present their
case and adduce supporting evidence. In the instant case, respondent has not been informed of the basis of the estate tax liability. Without
complying with the unequivocal mandate of first informing the taxpayer of the government's claim, there can be no deprivation of property, because no
effective protest can be made. The haphazard shot at slapping an assessment, supposedly based on estate taxation's general provisions that are
expected to be known by the taxpayer, is utter chicanery.

Even a cursory review of the preliminary assessment notice, as well as the demand letter sent, reveals the lack of basis for - not to mention the
insufficiency of - the gross figures and details of the itemized deductions indicated in the notice and the letter. This Court cannot countenance an
assessment based on estimates that appear to have been arbitrarily or capriciously arrived at. Although taxes are the lifeblood of the government, their
assessment and collection "should be made in accordance with law as any arbitrariness will negate the very reason for government itself."62 (Emphasis
supplied.)

The Court similarly found that there was no valid assessment in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. BASF Coating+ Inks Phils., Inc. 63 (BASF Coating
Case) as the assessment notice therein was sent to the taxpayer company's former address. Without a valid assessment, the Court pronounced that
petitioner's issuance of a First Notice Before Issuance of Warrant of Distraint and Levy to be in violation of the taxpayer company's right to due process
and effectively blocked any further efforts by petitioner to collect by virtue thereof. The Court ratiocinated that:

It might not also be amiss to point out that petitioner's issuance of the First Notice Before Issuance of Warrant of Distraint and Levy violated
respondent's right to due process because no valid notice of assessment was sent to it. An invalid assessment bears no valid fruit. The law imposes a
substantive, not merely a formal, requirement. To proceed heedlessly with tax collection without first establishing a valid assessment is evidently
violative of the cardinal principle in administrative investigations: that taxpayers should be able to present their case and adduce supporting evidence.
In the instant case, respondent has not properly been informed of the basis of its tax liabilities. Without complying with the unequivocal mandate of first
informing the taxpayer of the government's claim, there can be no deprivation of property, because no effective protest can be made.

xxxx

It is an elementary rule enshrined in the 1987 Constitution that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. In balancing the
scales between the power of the State to tax and its inherent right to prosecute perceived transgressors of the law on one side, and the constitutional
rights of a citizen to due process of law .and the equal protection of the laws on the other, the scales must tilt in favor of the individual, for a citizen's
right is amply protected by the Bill of Rights under the Constitution. 64

It is worthy to note that in the Reyes Case and BASF Coating Case, there were assessments actually issued against the taxpayers therein, except that
said assessments were adjudged invalid for different reasons (i.e., for failing to state the factual and legal bases for the assessment in the Reyes
Case and for sending the assessment to the wrong address in the BASF Coating Case). In the instant cases, petitioner did not issue at all an
assessment against respondents prior to his issuance of the 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters. Thus, there is even more reason for the Court to bar
petitioner's attempts to collect the alleged deficiency excise taxes through any summary administrative remedy.

In the present case, it is clear from the wording of the 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters that petitioner intended to pursue, through said collection
letters, summary administrative remedies for the collection of respondents' alleged excise tax deficiencies for the Covered Years. In fact, in the
respondent Shell's case, the collection letters were already followed by the BIR's issuance of Warrants of Garnishment and Distraint and/or Levy
against it.

That the BIR proceeded with the collection of respondents' alleged unpaid taxes without a previous valid assessment is evident from the
following: First, petitioner admitted in CTA Case Nos. 572865 and 654 7 that: (a) the collections letters were not tax assessment notices; (b) the letters
were issued solely based on the DOF Center's findings; and (c) the BIR never issued any preliminary assessment notice prior to the issuance of the
collection letters. Second, although the 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters and the 1999 Assessments against respondents were for the same excise
taxes for the Covered Years, the former were evidently not based on the latter. The 1998 Collection Letters against respondents were issued prior to
the 1999 Assessments; while the 2002 Collection Letter against respondent Shell was issued even while respondent Shell's protest of the 1999
Assessment was still pending before the CTA. And third, assuming arguendo that the 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters were intended to implement the
1999 Assessments against respondents, the 1999 Assessments were already nullified in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case.

Absent a previously issued assessment supporting the 1998 and 2002 Collection Letters, it is clear that petitioner's attempts to collect through said
collection letters as well as the subsequent Warrants of Garnishment and Distraint and/or Levy are void and ineffectual. If an invalid assessment bears
no valid fruit, with more reason will no such fruit arise if there was no assessment in the first place.

The period for petitioner to collect


the alleged deficiency excise taxes
from respondents through judicial
remedies had already prescribed.

After establishing that petitioner could not collect respondents' alleged deficiency excise taxes for the covered years through summary administrative
remedies without a valid assessment, the Court next determines whether petitioner could still resort to judicial remedies to enforce collection.

The Court answers in the negative as the period for collection of the respondents' alleged deficiency excise taxes for the Covered Years through
judicial remedies had already prescribed.
The alleged deficiency excise taxes petitioner seeks to collect from respondents in the cases at bar pertain to the Covered Years, i.e., 1992 to 1997,
during which, the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines of 197766(1977 NIRC) was the governing law. Pertinent provisions of the 1977
NIRC read:

Sec. 318. Period of Limitation Upon Assessment and Collection. - Except as provided in the succeeding section, internal-revenue taxes shall be
assessed within five years after the return was filed, and no proceeding in court without assessment for the collection of such taxes shall be
begun after the expiration of such period. For the purposes of this section, a return filed before the last day prescribed by law for the filing thereof
shall be considered as filed on such last day: Provided,That this limitation shall not apply to cases already investigated prior to the approval of this
Code. (Emphasis Supplied)

Sec. 319. Exceptions as to period of limitation of assessment and collection of taxes. - (a) In the case of a false or fraudulent return with intent to evade
tax or of a failure to file a return, the tax may be assessed, or a proceeding in court for the collection of such tax may be begun without
assessment, at any time within ten years after the discovery of the falsity, fraud, or omission:Provided, That in a fraud assessment which has
become final and executory, the fact of fraud shall be judicially taken cognizance of in the civil or criminal action for the collection thereof.

(b) Where before the expiration of the time prescribed in the preceding section for the assessment of the tax, both the Commissioner and the taxpayer
have consented in writing to its assessment after such time, the tax may be assessed at any time prior to the expiration of the period agreed upon. The
period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent agreements in writing made before the expiration of the period previously agreed upon.

(c) Where the assessment of any internal revenue tax has been made within the period of limitation above-prescribed, such tax may be collected by
distraint or levy or by a proceeding in court, but only if began (1) within five years after assessment of the tax, or (2) prior to the expiration of any period
for collection agreed upon in writing by the Commissioner and the taxpayer before the expiration of such five-year period. The period so agreed upon
may be extended by subsequent agreements in writing made before the expiration of the period previously agreed upon.

Under Section 318 of the 1977 NIRC, petitioner had five years67 from the time respondents filed their excise tax returns in question to: (a) issue an
assessment; and/or (b) file a court action for collection without an assessment. In the petitions at bar, respondents filed their returns for the Covered
Years from 1992 to 1997, and the five-year prescriptive period under Section 319 of the 1977 NIRC would have prescribed accordingly from 1997 to
2002.

As the Court has explicitly found herein as well as in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case, petitioner failed to issue any valid assessment
against respondents for the latter's alleged deficiency excise taxes for the Covered Years. Without a valid assessment, the five-year prescriptive
period to assess continued to run and had, in fact, expired in these cases. Irrefragably, petitioner is already barred by prescription from issuing an
assessment against respondents for deficiency excise taxes for the Covered Years. Resultantly, this also bars petitioner from undertaking any
summary administrative remedies, i.e., distraint and/or levy, against respondents for collection of the same taxes.

Unlike summary administrative remedies, the government's power to enforce the collection through judicial action is not conditioned upon a
previous valid assessment. Sections 318 and 319(a) of the 1977 NIRC expressly allowed the institution of court proceedings for collection of taxes
without assessment within five years from the filing of the tax return and 10 years from the discovery of falsity, fraud, or omission, respectively.68

A judicial action for the collection of a tax is begun: (a) by the filing of a complaint with the court of competent jurisdiction, or (b) where the
assessment is appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals, by filing an answer to the taxpayer's petition for review wherein payment of the tax is prayed
for.69

From respondents' filing of their excise tax returns in the years 1992 to 1997 until the lapse of the five-year prescriptive period under Section 318 of the
1977 NIRC in the years 1997 to 2002, petitioner did not institute any judicial action for collection of tax as aforedescribed. Instead, petitioner
relied solely on summary administrative remedies by issuing the collection letters and warrants of garnishment and distraint and/or levy without prior
assessment against respondents. Sifting through records, it can be said that petitioner's earliest attempts to judicially enforce collection of
respondents' alleged deficiency excise taxes were his Answers to respondents' Petitions for Review filed before the CTA in Case Nos. 5657, 5728,
and 6547 on August 6, 1998,70 March 2, 1999,71and November 29, 2002,72 respectively.

Verily, in a long line of jurisprudence, the Court deemed the filing of such pleadings as effective tax collection suits so as to stop the running of the
prescriptive period in cases where: (a) the CIR issued an assessment and the taxpayer appealed the same to the CT A; 73 (b) the CIR filed the answer
praying for the payment of tax within five years after the issuance of the assessment; 74 and (c) at the time of its filing, jurisdiction over judicial actions
for collection of internal revenue taxes was vested in the CT A, not in the regular courts. 75

However, judging by the foregoing conditions, even petitioner's Answers in CTA Case Nos. 5657, 5728, and 6547 cannot be deemed judicial actions
for collection of tax. First, CTA Case Nos. 5657, 5728, and 6547 were not appeals of assessments. Respondents went before the CTA to challenge the
1998 and 2002 Collection Letters, which, by petitioner's own admission, are not assessments. Second, by the time petitioner filed. his Answers before
the CTA on August 6, 1998, March 2, 1999, and November 29, 2002, his power to collect alleged deficiency excise taxes, the returns for which were
filed from 1992 to 1997, had already partially prescribed, particularly those pertaining to the earlier portion of the Covered Years. Third, at the time
petitioner filed his Answers before the CTA, the jurisdiction over judicial actions for collection of internal revenue taxes was vested in the regular courts,
not the CTA. 76 Original jurisdiction over collection cases77 was transferred to the CTA only on April 23, 2004, upon the effectivity of Republic Act No.
9282.78

Without either a formal tax collection suit filed before the court of competent jurisdiction or an answer deemed as a judicial action for collection of tax
within the prescribed five-year period under Section 318 of the 1977 NIRC, petitioner's power to institute a court proceeding for the collection of
respondents' alleged deficiency excise taxes without an assessment had already prescribed in 1997 to 2002.

The Court's ruling remains the same even if the 10-year prescriptive period under Section 319(a) of the 1977 NIRC, in case of falsity, fraud, or
omission in the taxpayer's return, is applied to the present cases.
Even if the Court concedes, for the sake of argument, that respondents' returns for the Covered Years were false or fraudulent, Section 319(a) of the
1977 NIRC similarly required petitioner to (a) issue an assessment; and/or (b) file a court action for collection without an assessment, but within 10
years after the discovery of the falsity, fraud, or omission in the taxpayer's return. As early as the 1998 Collection Letters, petitioner could already be
charged with knowledge of the alleged falsity or fraud in respondents' excise tax returns, which precisely led petitioner to invalidate respondents'
payments using the transferred TC Cs and to demand payment of deficiency excise taxes through said letters. The 10-year prescriptive period under
Section 319(a) of the 1977 NIRC wholly expired in 2008 without petitioner issuing a valid assessment or instituting judicial action for collection.

The Court cannot countenance the tax authorities' non-performance of their duties in the present cases. The law provides for a statute of limitations
1âwphi1

on the assessment and collection of internal revenue taxes in order to safeguard the interest of the taxpayer against unreasonable
investigation. 79 While taxes are the lifeblood of the nation, the Court cannot allow tax authorities indefinite periods to assess and/or collect alleged
unpaid taxes. Certainly, it is an injustice to leave any taxpayer in perpetual uncertainty whether he will be made liable for deficiency or delinquent taxes.

In sum, petitioner's attempts to collect the alleged deficiency excise taxes from respondents are void and ineffectual because (a) the issues regarding
the transferred TCCs' validity, respondents' qualifications as transferees of said TC Cs, and respondents' use of the TC Cs to pay for their excise tax
liabilities for the Covered Years, had already been settled with finality in the 2007 Shell Case and 2010 Petron Case, and could no longer be re-litigated
on the ground of res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment; (b) petitioner's resort to summary administrative remedies without a valid
assessment was not in accordance with the prescribed procedure and . was in violation of respondents' right to substantive due process; and ( c) none
of petitioner's collection efforts constitute a valid institution of a judicial remedy for collection of taxes without an assessment, and any such judicial
remedy is now barred by prescription.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court DENIES the petition of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in G.R. No. 197945 and AFFIRMS the
Decision dated February 22, 2011 and Resolution dated July 27, 2011 of the Court of Tax Appeals en bane in CTA En Banc Case No. 535.

The Court likewise DENIES the petition of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in G.R. Nos. 204119-20 and AFFIRMS the Decision dated March 21,
2012 and Resolution dated October 10, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 55329-30.

G.R. No. 198677 November 26, 2014

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner,


vs.
BASF COATING + INKS PHILS., INC., Respondent.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) En Banc, dated June 16, 2011, and
Resolution2 dated September 16, 2011, in C.T.A. EB No. 664 (C.T.A. Case No. 7125).

The pertinent factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows:

Respondent was a corporation which was duly organized under and by virtue of the laws of the Republic of the Philippines on August 1, 1990 with a
term of existence of fifty (50) years. Its BIR-registered address was at 101 Marcos Alvarez Avenue, Barrio Talon, Las Piñas City. In a joint special
meeting held on March 19, 2001, majorityof the members of the Board of Directors and the stockholders representing more than two-thirds (2/3) of the
entire subscribed and outstanding capital stock of herein respondent corporation, resolved to dissolve the corporation by shortening its corporate term
to March 31, 2001.3 Subsequently, respondent moved out of its address in Las Piñas City and transferred to Carmelray Industrial Park, Canlubang,
Calamba, Laguna.

On June 26, 2001, respondent submitted two (2) letters to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue District Officer of Revenue District Office
(RDO) No. 53, Region 8, in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The first letter, dated April 26, 2001, was a notice of respondent's dissolution, in compliance with
the requirements of Section 52(c) of the National Internal Revenue Code.4 On the other hand, the second letter, dated June 22, 2001, was a
manifestation indicating the submission of various documents supporting respondent's dissolution, among which was BIR Form No. 1905, which refers
to an update of information contained in its tax registration.5

Thereafter, in a Formal Assessment Notice (FA N) dated January 17, 2003, petitioner assessed respondent the aggregate amount of ₱18,671,343.14
representing deficiencies in income tax, value added tax, withholding tax on compensation, expanded withholding tax and documentary stamp tax,
including increments, for the taxable year 1999.6 The FAN was sent by registered mail on January 24, 2003 to respondent's former address in Las
Piñas City.

On March 5, 2004, the Chief of the Collection Section of BIR Revenue Region No. 7, RDO No. 39, South Quezon City, issued a First Notice Before
Issuance of Warrant of Distraint and Levy, which was sent to the residence of one of respondent's directors.7

On March 19, 2004, respondent filed a protest letter citing lack of due process and prescription as grounds.8 On April 16, 2004, respondent filed a
supplemental letter of protest.9 Subsequently, on June 14, 2004, respondent submitted a letter wherein it attached documents to prove the defenses
raised in its protest letters.10
On January 10, 2005, after 180 dayshad lapsed without action on the part of petitioner on respondent's protest, the latter filed a Petition for
Review11 with the CTA.

Trial on the merits ensued.

On February 17, 2010, the CTA Special First Division promulgated its Decision,12 the dispositive portion of which reads, thus:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED. The assessments for deficiency income tax in the amount of ₱14,227,425.39, deficiency
value-added tax of ₱3,981,245.66, deficiency withholding tax on compensation of ₱49,977.21, deficiency expanded withholding tax of ₱156,261.97
and deficiency documentary stamp tax of ₱256,432.91, including increments, in the aggregate amount of ₱18,671,343.14 for the taxable year 1999 are
hereby CANCELLED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.13

The CTA Special First Division ruled that since petitioner was actually aware of respondent's new address, the former's failure to send the Preliminary
Assessment Notice and FAN to the said address should not be taken against the latter. Consequently, since there are no valid notices sent to
respondent, the subsequent assessments against it are considered void. Aggrieved by the Decision, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but
the CTA Special First Division denied it in its Resolution14 dated July 13, 2010.

Petitioner then filed a Petition for Review with the CTA En Banc.15

On June 16, 2011, the CTA En Banc promulgated its assailed Decision denying petitioner's Petition for Review for lack of merit. The CTA En Banc held
that petitioner's right to assess respondent for deficiency taxes for the taxable year 1999 has already prescribed and that the FAN issued to respondent
never attained finality because respondent did not receive it.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but the CTA En Banc denied it in its Resolution dated September 16, 2011.

Hence, the present petition with the following Assignment of Errors:

THE HONORABLE CTA EN BANC ERRED IN RULING THAT THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO ASSESS HEREIN RESPONDENT FOR
DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX, VALUEADDED TAX, WITHHOLDING TAX ON COMPENSATION, EXPANDED WITHHOLDING TAX AND
DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX, FOR TAXABLE YEAR 1999 IS BARRED BY PRESCRIPTION.

II

THE HONORABLE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, EN BANC, ERRED IN RULING THAT THE FORMAL ASSESSMENT NOTICE (FAN) FOR
RESPONDENT'S DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX, VALUE-ADDED TAX, WITHHOLDING TAX ON COMPENSATION, EXPANDED WITHHOLDING TAX
AND DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX FOR TAXABLE YEAR 1999 HAS NOT YET BECOME FINAL, EXECUTORY AND DEMANDABLE. 16

The petition lacks merit.

Petitioner contends that, insofar as respondent's alleged deficiency taxes for the taxable year1999 are concerned, the running of the three-year
prescriptive period to assess, under Sections 203 and 222 of the National Internal Revenue Act of 1997 (Tax Reform Act of 1997) was suspended
when respondent failed to notify petitioner, in writing, of its change of address, pursuant to the provisions of Section 223 of the same Act and Section
11 of BIR Revenue Regulation No. 12-85.

Sections 203, 222 and 223 of the Tax Reform Act of 1997 provide, respectively:

Sec. 203. Period of Limitation Upon Assessment and Collection.– Except as provided in Section 222,internal revenue taxes shall be assessed within
three (3) years after the last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return, and no proceeding in court without assessment for the collection of such
taxes shall be begun after the expiration of such period: Provided, That in a case where a return is filed beyond the period prescribed by law, the three
(3)-year period shall be counted from the day the return was filed. For purposes of this Section, a return filed before the last day prescribed by law for
the filing thereof shall be considered as filed on such last day. (emphasis supplied)

Sec. 222. Exceptions as to Period of Limitation of Assessment and Collection of Taxes. -

(a) In the case of a false or fraudulent return with intent to evade tax or of failure to file a return, the tax may be assessed, or a proceeding
in court for the collection of such tax may be filed without assessment, at any time within ten (10) years after the discovery of the falsity,
fraud or omission: Provided, That in a fraud assessment which has become final and executory, the fact of fraud shall be judicially taken
cognizance of in the civil or criminal action for the collection thereof.

(b) If before the expiration of the time prescribed in Section 203 for the assessment of the tax, both the Commissioner and the taxpayer
have agreed in writing to its assessment after such time, the tax may be assessed within the period agreed upon.
The period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent written agreement made before the expiration of the period previously agreed
upon.

(c) Any internal revenue tax which has been assessed within the period of limitation as prescribed in paragraph (a) hereof may be collected
by distraint or levy or by a proceeding in court within five (5) years following the assessment of the tax.

(d) Any internal revenue tax, which has been assessed within the period agreed upon as provided in paragraph (b) hereinabove, may be
collected bydistraint or levy or by a proceeding in court within the period agreed upon in writing before the expiration of the five (5) -year
period. The period so agreed upon may be extended by subsequent written agreements made before the expiration of the period previously
agreed upon.

(e) Provided, however, That nothing in the immediately preceding and paragraph (a) hereof shall be construed to authorize the examination
and investigation or inquiry into any tax return filed in accordance with the provisions of any tax amnesty law or decree.

Sec. 223. Suspension of Running of Statute of Limitations. - The running of the Statute of Limitations provided in Sections 203 and 222 on the making
of assessment and the beginning of distraint or levy a proceeding in court for collection, in respect of any deficiency, shall be suspended for the period
during which the Commissioner is prohibited from making the assessment or beginning distraint or levy or a proceeding in court and for sixty (60) days
thereafter; when the taxpayer requests for a reinvestigation which is granted by the Commissioner; when the taxpayer cannot be located in the address
given by him in the return filed upon which a tax is being assessed or collected: Provided, that, if the taxpayer informs the Commissioner of any change
in address, the running of the Statute of Limitations will not be suspended; when the warrant of distraint or levy is duly served upon the taxpayer, his
authorized representative, or a member of his household with sufficient discretion, and no property could be located; and when the taxpayer is out of
the Philippines. (emphasis supplied)

In addition, Section 11 of BIR Revenue Regulation No. 12-85 states:

Sec. 11. Change of Address. – In case of change of address, the taxpayer must give a written notice thereof to the Revenue District Officer or the
district having jurisdiction over his formerlegal residence and/or place of business, copy furnished the Revenue District Officer having jurisdiction over
his new legal residence or place of business, the Revenue Computer Center and the Receivable Accounts Division, BIR, National Office, Quezon City,
and in case of failure to do so, any communication referred to in these regulations previously sent to his former legal residence or business address as
appear in is tax return for the period involved shall be considered valid and binding for purposes of the period within which to reply.

It is true that, under Section 223 of the Tax Reform Act of 1997, the running of the Statute of Limitations provided under the provisions of Sections 203
and 222 of the same Act shall be suspended when the taxpayer cannot be located in the address given by him in the return filed upon which a tax is
being assessed or collected. In addition, Section 11 of Revenue Regulation No. 12-85 states that, in case of change of address, the taxpayer is
required to give a written notice thereof to the Revenue District Officer or the district having jurisdiction over his former legal residence and/or place of
business. However, this Court agrees with both the CTA Special First Division and the CTA En Banc in their ruling that the above mentioned provisions
on the suspension of the three-year period to assess apply only if the BIR Commissioner is not aware of the whereabouts of the taxpayer.

In the present case, petitioner, by all indications, is well aware that respondent had moved to its new address in Calamba, Laguna, as shown by the
following documents which form partof respondent's records with the BIR:

1) Checklist on Income Tax/Withholding Tax/Documentary Stamp Tax/Value-Added Tax and Other Percentage Taxes;17

2) General Information (BIR Form No. 23-02);18

3) Report on Taxpayer's Delinquent Account, dated June 27, 2002;19

4) Activity Report, dated October 17, 2002;20

5) Memorandum Report of Examiner, dated June 27, 2002;21

6) Revenue Officer's Audit Report on Income Tax;22

7) Revenue Officer's Audit Report on Value-Added Tax;23

8) Revenue Officer's Audit Report on Compensation Withholding Taxes;24

9) Revenue Officer's Audit Report on Expanded Withholding Taxes;25

10) Revenue Officer's Audit Report on Documentary Stamp Taxes.26

The above documents, all of which were accomplished and signed by officers of the BIR, clearly show that respondent's address is at Carmelray
Industrial Park, Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna. The CTA also found that BIR officers, at various times prior to the issuance of the subject FAN,
conducted examination and investigation of respondent's tax liabilities for 1999 at the latter's new address in Laguna as evidenced by the following, in
addition to the above mentioned records:
1) Letter, dated September 27, 2001, signed by Revenue Officer I Eugene R. Garcia;27

2) Final Request for Presentation of Records Before Subpoena Duces Tecum, dated March 20, 2002, signed by Revenue Officer I Eugene
R. Garcia.28

Moreover, the CTA found that, based on records, the RDO sent respondent a letter dated April 24, 2002 informing the latter of the results of their
investigation and inviting it to an informal conference.29 Subsequently, the RDO also sent respondent another letter dated May 30, 2002, acknowledging
receipt of the latter's reply to his April 24, 2002 letter.30 These two letters were sent to respondent's new address in Laguna. Had the RDO not been
informed or was not aware of respondent's new address, he could not have sent the said letters to the said address.

Furthermore, petitioner should have been alerted by the fact that prior to mailing the FAN, petitioner sent to respondent's old address a Preliminary
Assessment Notice but it was "returned to sender." This was testified to by petitioner's Revenue Officer II at its Revenue District Office 39 in Quezon
City.31 Yet, despite this occurrence, petitioner still insisted in mailing the FAN to respondent's old address.

Hence, despite the absence of a formal written notice of respondent's change of address, the fact remains that petitioner became aware of
respondent's new address as shown by documents replete in its records. As a consequence, the running of the three-year period to assess respondent
was not suspended and has already prescribed.

It bears stressing that, in a number of cases, this Court has explained that the statute of limitations on the collection of taxes primarily benefits the
taxpayer. In these cases, the Court exemplified the detrimental effects that the delay in the assessment and collection of taxes inflicts upon the
taxpayers. Thus, in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Philippine Global Communication, Inc.,32 this Court echoed Justice Montemayor's disquisition
in his dissenting opinion in Collector of Internal Revenue v. Suyoc Consolidated Mining Company,33 regarding the potential loss to the taxpayer if the
assessment and collection of taxes are not promptly made, thus:

Prescription in the assessment and in the collection of taxes is provided by the Legislature for the benefit of both the Government and the taxpayer; for
the Government for the purpose of expediting the collection of taxes, so that the agency charged with the assessment and collection may not tarry too
long or indefinitely tothe prejudice of the interests of the Government, which needs taxes to run it; and for the taxpayer so that within a reasonable time
after filing his return, hemay know the amount of the assessment he is required to pay, whether or not such assessment is well founded and
reasonable so that he may either pay the amount of the assessment or contest its validity incourt x x x. It would surely be prejudicial to the interest of
the taxpayer for the Government collecting agency to unduly delay the assessment and the collection because by the time the collecting agency finally
gets around to making the assessment or making the collection, the taxpayer may then have lost his papers and books to support his claim and contest
that of the Government, and what is more, the tax is in the meantime accumulating interest which the taxpayer eventually has to pay.34

Likewise, in Republic of the Philippines v. Ablaza,35 this Court elucidated that the prescriptive period for the filing of actions for collection of taxes is
justified by the need to protect law-abiding citizens from possible harassment. Also, in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Commissioner of Internal
Revenue,36 it was held that the statute of limitations on the assessment and collection of taxes is principally intended to afford protection to the taxpayer
against unreasonable investigations as the indefinite extension of the period for assessment deprives the taxpayer of the assurance that he will no
longer be subjected to further investigation for taxes after the expiration of a reasonable period of time. Thus, in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v.
B.F. Goodrich Phils., Inc.,37 this Court ruled that the legal provisions on prescription should be liberally construed to protect taxpayers and that, as a
corollary, the exceptions to the rule on prescription should be strictly construed.

It might not also be amiss to point out that petitioner's issuance of the First Notice Before Issuance of Warrant of Distraint and Levy38 violated
respondent's right to due process because no valid notice of assessment was sent to it. An invalid assessment bears no valid fruit. The law imposes a
substantive, not merely a formal, requirement. To proceed heedlessly with tax collection without first establishing a valid assessment is evidently
violative of the cardinal principle inadministrative investigations: that taxpayers should be able to present their case and adduce supporting
evidence.39 In the instant case, respondent has not properly been informed of the basis of its tax liabilities. Without complying with the unequivocal
mandate of first informing the taxpayer of the government’s claim, there can be no deprivation of property, because no effective protest can be made.

It is true that taxes are the lifeblood of the government. However, in spite of all its plenitude, the power to tax has its limits.40 Thus, in Commissioner of
Internal Revenue v. Algue, Inc.,41 this Court held:

Taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance. On the other hand, such collection should be
1âwphi1

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.

xxxx

It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilized society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for the 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 taxing authorities, every person who is able to
must contribute his share in the running of the government. The government for its partis expected torespond 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 x x x that the law has not been
observed.42
It is an elementary rule enshrined in the 1987 Constitution that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. In balancing the
scales between the power of the State to tax and its inherent right to prosecute perceived transgressors of the law on one side, and the constitutional
rights of a citizen todue process of law and the equal protection of the laws on the other, the scales must tilt in favor of the individual, for a citizen’s right
is amply protected by the Bill of Rights under the Constitution.43

As to the second assigned error, petitioner's reliance on the provisions of Section 3.1.7 of BIR Revenue Regulation No. 12-9944 as well as on the case
of Nava v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue45 is misplaced, because in the said case, one of the requirements ofa valid assessment notice is that the
letter or notice must be properly addressed. It is not enough that the notice is sent by registered mail as provided under the said Revenue Regulation.
In the instant case, the FAN was sent tothe wrong address. Thus, the CTA is correct in holding that the FAN never attained finality because respondent
never received it, either actually or constructively.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc, dated June 16, 2011, and its Resolution dated
September 16, 2011, in C.T.A. EB No. 664 (C.T.A. Case No. 7125), are AFFIRMED.

Before this court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the May 13, 2011
Resolution1 of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) En Bane in C.T.A. E. B. No. 505 (C.T.A. Case No. 6688) entitled Commissioner of Internal Revenue v.
Nippon Express (Philippines) Corporation.

The Facts

Petitioner Nippon Express (Philippines) Corporation (petitioner) is a corporation duly organized and registered with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. It is also a value-added tax (VAT)-registered entity with the Large Taxpayer District of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 2 For the year
2001, it regularly filed its amended quarterly VAT returns. On April 24, 2003, it filed an administrative claim for refund of ₱20,345,824.29 representing
excess input tax attributable to its effectively zero-rated sales in 2001, computed as follows:3

Output VAT from Taxable Sales (10%) P 5,827,022.20

Less: Input VAT from Taxable Sales (1,789,111.32)

Input VAT from Zero-rated Sales (24,383,735.17)

Refundable Excess Input VAT (P 20,345,824.29)

Pending review by the BIR, on April 25, 2003, petitioner filed a petition for review with the CTA, requesting for the issuance of a tax credit certificate in
the amount of ₱20,345,824.29.4

On January 26, 2009, the First Division of the CTA denied the petition for insufficiency of evidence. 5 Upon motion for reconsideration, however, the
CTA First Division promulgated its Amended Decision,6 dated March 24, 2009, ordering the respondent, Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) to
issue a tax credit certificate in favor of petitioner in the amount of ₱10,928,607.31 representing excess or unutilized input tax for the second, third and
fourth quarters of 2001. The CTA First Division took judicial notice of the records of C.T.A. Case No. 6967, also involving petitioner, to show that the
claim of input tax had not been applied against any output tax in the succeeding quarters. As to the timeliness of the filing of petitioner’s administrative
and judicial claims, the CTA First Division ruled that while the administrative application for refund was made within the two-year prescriptive period,
petitioner’s immediate recourse to the court was a premature invocation of the court’s jurisdiction due to the non-observance of the procedure in
Section 112(D)7 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) providing that an appeal may be made with the CTA within 30 days from the receipt of
the decision of the CIR denying the claim or after the expiration of the 120-day period without action on the part of the CIR. Considering, however, that
the CIR did not register his objection when he filed his Answer, he is deemed to have waived his objection thereto. 8 The CIR sought reconsideration but
his motion was denied in the June 16, 2009 Resolution9 of the CTA First Division.

The CIR elevated the case to the CTA En Banc which, on June 11, 2010, reversed and set aside the March 24, 2009 Amended Decision and the June
16, 2009 Resolution of the CTA First Division.10 Accordingly, petitioner’s claim for refund or issuance of a tax credit certificate was denied for lack of
merit. The CTA En Banc ruled that the sales invoices issued by petitioner were insufficient to establish its zero-rated sale of services. Without the
proper VAT official receipts issued to its clients, the payments received by petitioner could not qualify for zero-rating for VAT purposes. As a result, the
claimed input VAT payments allegedly attributable to such sales could not be granted.

The CTA En Banc later changed its position on September 22, 2010 when it issued its Amended Decision11 granting petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration, setting aside its own June 11, 2010 Decision and affirming the March 24, 2009 Amended Decision of the CTA First Division. In view of
the pronouncement of the Court in the case of AT&T Communications Services Philippines, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue,12 that Section
113 of the NIRC did not distinguish between a sales invoice and an official receipt, the CTA En Banc found petitioner’s sales invoices to be acceptable
proof to support its claim for refund or issuance of a tax credit certificate representing its excess or unutilized input VAT arising from zero-rated or
effectively zero-rated sales.

The CIR filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the sales invoice, which supported the sale of goods, was not the same as the official receipt,
which must support the sale of services. In addition, it pointed out that the CTA had no jurisdiction over the petition for review because it was filed
before the lapse of the 120-day period accorded to the CIR to decide on its administrative claim for input VAT refund.13
In another reversal of opinion, the CTA En Banc set aside the March 24, 2009 Amended Decision and the June 16, 2009 Resolution of the CTA First
Division and dismissed the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction. In its May 13, 2011 Resolution, 14 the CTA En Banc held that the 120-day period
under Section 112(D) of the NIRC, which granted the CIR the opportunity to act on the claim for refund, was jurisdictional in nature such that
petitioner’s failure to observe the said period before resorting to judicial action warranted the dismissal of its petition for review for having been
prematurely filed, in accordance with the ruling in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Aichi Forging Company of Asia, Inc.15 With respect to the use of
official receipts interchangeably with sales invoices, the tax court cited the ruling of the Court in Kepco Philippines Corporation v. Commissioner of
Internal Revenue16 which concluded that a VAT invoice and a VAT receipt should not be confused as referring to the same thing. A VAT invoice was
the seller’s best proof of the sale of the goods or services to the buyer while the VAT receipt was the buyer’s best evidence of the payment of goods
and services received from the seller.

Hence, this petition.

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following questions:

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE INSTANT CASE. WHETHER OR NOT THE
PETITIONER’S VAT INVOICES ARE INSUFFICIENT PROOF TO SUPPORT ITS ZERO-RATED SALES.17

The Court's Ruling

The Court finds the petition to be without merit.

As regards the first issue, petitioner argues that the non-exhaustion of administrative remedies is not a jurisdictional defect as to prevent the tax court
from taking cognizance of the case.18 It merely renders the filing of the case premature and makes it susceptible to dismissal for lack of cause of action,
if invoked. Considering, however, that the CIR failed to seasonably object to the filing of the case by petitioner with the CTA, it is deemed to have
waived any defect in the petition for review. In fact, petitioner points out that the this issue was only raised for the first time in the respondent’s
Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, dated December 3, 2010, which was filed after the promulgation of the September 22, 2010 Amended
Decision of the CTA En Banc. Finally, petitioner insists that it cannot be faulted for relying on prevailing CTA jurisprudence requiring that both
administrative and judicial claims for refund be filed within two (2) years from the date of the filing of the return and the payment of the tax due.
Because this case was filed more than seven years prior to Aichi, the doctrine espoused therein cannot be applied retroactively as it would impair
petitioner’s substantial rights and will deprive it of its right to refund. 19

Petitioner is mistaken.

The provision in question is Section 112(D) (now subparagraph C) of the NIRC:

Sec. 112. Refunds or Tax Credits of Input Tax

xxx

(D) Period within which Refund or Tax Credit of Input Taxes shall be Made. – In proper cases, the Commissioner shall grant a refund or issue the tax
credit certificate for creditable input taxes within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of submission of complete documents in support of the
application filed in accordance with Subsections (A) and (B) hereof.

In case of full or partial denial of the claim for tax refund or tax credit, or the failure on the part of the Commissioner to act on the application within the
period prescribed above, the taxpayer affected may, within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the decision denying the claim or after the expiration of
the one hundred twenty day-period, appeal the decision or the unacted claim with the Court of Tax Appeals. (Emphasis Supplied)

A simple reading of the abovequoted provision reveals that the taxpayer may appeal the denial or the inaction of the CIR only within thirty (30) days
from receipt of the decision denying the claim or the expiration of the 120-day period given to the CIR to decide the claim. Because the law is
categorical in its language, there is no need for further interpretation by the courts and non-compliance with the provision cannot be justified.20 As
eloquently stated in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation v. Intermediate Appellate Court and BF Homes, Inc.: 21

It bears stressing that the first and fundamental duty of the Court is to apply the law. When the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there
is no room for construction or interpretation. As has been our consistent ruling, where the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no
occasion for interpretation; there is only room for application (Cebu Portland Cement Co. vs. Municipality of Naga, 24 SCRA-708 [1968]).

Where the law is clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean exactly what it says and the court has no choice but to see to it that its mandate is
obeyed (Chartered Bank Employees Association vs. Ople, 138 SCRA 273 [1985]; Luzon Surety Co., Inc. vs. De Garcia, 30 SCRA 111 [1969]; Quijano
vs. Development Bank of the Philippines, 35 SCRA 270 [1970]).

Only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court interpret or construe its true intent. Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or
more meanings, of being understood in more than one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time. A statute is ambiguous if it is
admissible of two or more possible meanings, in which case, the Court is called upon to exercise one of its judicial functions, which is to interpret the
law according to its true intent.22
Moreover, contrary to petitioner’s position, the 120+30-day period is indeed mandatory and jurisdictional, as recently ruled in Commissioner of Internal
Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation.23 Thus, failure to observe the said period before filing a judicial claim with the CTA would not only make
such petition premature, but would also result in the non-acquisition by the CTA of jurisdiction to hear the said case.

Because the 120+30 day period is jurisdictional, the issue of whether petitioner complied with the said time frame may be broached at any stage, even
on appeal. Well-settled is the rule that the question of jurisdiction over the subject matter can be raised at any time during the proceedings.

Jurisdiction cannot be waived because it is conferred by law and is not dependent on the consent or objection or the acts or omissions of the parties or
any one of them.24 Consequently, the fact that the CIR failed to immediately express its objection to the premature filing of the petition for review before
the CTA is of no moment. 1âwphi1

As to petitioner’s contention that it relied on the previous decisions of the CTA on the matter, the Court finds it apt to quote its ruling in San Roque:

There is also the claim that there are numerous CTA decisions allegedly supporting the argument that the filing dates of the administrative and judicial
claims are inconsequential, as long as they are within the two-year prescriptive period. Suffice it to state that CTA decisions do not constitute
precedents, and do not bind this Court or the public. That is why CTA decisions are appealable to this Court, which may affirm, reverse or modify the
1âw phi1

CTA decisions as the facts and the law may warrant. Only decisions of this Court constitute binding precedents, forming part of the Philippine legal
system.25

Pursuant to the ruling of the Court in San Roque, the 120+30-day period is mandatory and jurisdictional from the time of the effectivity of Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 8424 or the Tax Reform Act of 1997. The Court, however, took into consideration the issuance by the BIR of Ruling No. DA-489-03, which
expressly stated that the taxpayer need not wait for the lapse of the 120-day period before seeking judicial relief. Because taxpayers cannot be faulted
for relying on this declaration by the BIR, the Court deemed it reasonable to allow taxpayers to file its judicial claim even before the expiration of the
120-day period. This exception is to be observed from the issuance of the said ruling on December 10, 2003 up until its reversal by Aichi on October 6,
2010. In the landmark case of Aichi, this Court made a definitive statement that the failure of a taxpayer to wait for the decision of the CIR or the lapse
of the 120-day period will render the tiling of the judicial claim with the CTA premature. 26 As a consequence, its promulgation once again made it clear
to the taxpayers that the 120+ 30-day period must be observed.

As laid down in San Roque, judicial claims filed from January 1, 1998 until the present should strictly adhere to the 120+ 30-day period referred to in
Section 112 of the NIRC. The only exception is the period from December 10, 2003 until October 6, 2010, during which, judicial claims may be tiled
even before the expiration of the 120-day period granted to the CIR to decide on the claim for refund.

Based on the foregoing discussion and the ruling in San Roque, the petition must fail because the judicial claim of petitioner was filed on April 25,
2003, only one day after it submitted its administrative claim to the CIR. Petitioner failed to wait for the lapse of the requisite 120-day period or the
denial of its claim by the CIR before elevating the case to the CT A by a petition for review. As its judicial claim was filed during which strict compliance
with the 120+ 30-day period was required, the Court cannot but declare that the filing of the petition for review with the CT A was premature and that
the CTA had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Having thus concluded, the Court sees no need to discuss other issues which may have been raised in the petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

TOPIC: Cession of the premiums taxable as income from sources within the Philippines.

4) PHIL. GUARANTY CO. VS. CIR

FACTS:The Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc., a domestic insurance company, entered into reinsurance
contracts, on various dates, with foreign insurance companies not doing business in the Philippines.
Petitioner thereby agreed to cede to the foreign reinsurers a portion of the premiums on insurance it has
originally underwritten in the Philippines, in consideration for the assumption by the latter of liability on an
equivalent portion of the risks insured.

Said reinsurrance contracts were signed by Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc. in Manila and by the
foreign reinsurers outside the Philippines.
Said premiums were excluded by Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc. from its gross income when it file
its income tax returns.It did not withhold or pay tax on them. Consequently, the CIR assessed against
PETITIONER .withholding tax on the ceded reinsurance premiums.

Petitioner protested the assessment on the ground that reinsurance premiums ceded to foreign
reinsurers not doing business in the Philippines are not subject to withholding tax.

CTA: IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT

ISSUE:Whetherreinsurance premiums ceded to foreign reinsurers not doing business in the Philippines
are subject to tax

HELD:Yes.The reinsurance premiums are subject to tax.

The reinsurance contracts show that the transactions or activities that constituted the undertaking
to reinsure Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc. against loses arising from the original insurances in the
Philippines were performed in the Philippines.

Section 24 of the Tax Code subjects foreign corporations to tax on their income from sources
within the Philippine.“Sources” means the activity, property, or service giving rise to the income. The
original insurance undertakings took place in the Philippines. It is not required that the foreign corporation
be engaged in business in the Philippines. What is controlling is no the place of business, but the place of
activity that created the income. Thus, the income is subject to income tax.

NOTE:The foreign insurers' place of business should not be confused with their place of
activity. Business should not be continuity and progression of transactions whileactivity may consist of
only a single transaction. An activity may occur outside the place of business.