SC affirms CTA order to refund Philex’s P18.6-M tax

THE high court has affirmed the Court of Tax Appeals’ (CTA) decision for the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) to refund Philex Mining Corp.’s P18.6-million unutilized and excess input value-added tax (VAT) attributable to its zero-rated sales for the fourth quarter of 2009.

In its ruling dated Jan. 18 and made public on May 26, the Supreme Court (SC) said it found “no reversible error” in the assailed CTA decision.

It also ruled that it need not review Philex’s substantiation of its claim for refund as the CTA had already proven its validity and because the SC “is not a trier of facts.”

The Court also found “no merit in the CIR’s contention that Philex’s judicial claim was premature or that its supporting documents were incomplete” as Philex observed the rules for timely claim of refund under Section 112(c) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and submitted complete documents.

Further, under the NIRC, the CIR has to decide on the application for a tax refund within 120 days from the date of submission of complete documents.

If it fails to do so, the taxpayer may appeal the unacted claim with the CTA.

The Court also said in its decision that the CIR could have asked Philex to submit additional documents within the 120-day period, but it failed to do so.

Meanwhile, the completeness of documents for the start of the 120-day period was clarified in the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 49-2003 as being ultimately determined by the taxpayer. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago