THE Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has dismissed the criminal case against the former president and the treasurer of Cross Country Oil and Petroleum Corp. for tax evasion for taxable year 2009 amounting to P184.8 million.

The decision dated May 19 dismissed the case against the company’s former president Arturo M. Zapata by reason of his death, and against the company’s treasurer Jacob Valeriano, Jr. for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In 2017, the Department of Justice accused the two officers of violating Section 255 in relation to Sections 253(d) and 256 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

The charge stated that the two officers, “conspiring and confederating with one another, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously fail to pay the corporation’s basic deficiency income tax for the taxable year 2009.”

However, the tax appeals court ruled that the defendants were not at fault because the Final Letter of Demand (FLD) and the Final Assessment Notice issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue are “void for failure to definitely set and fix the amount of the income tax liability.”

The court added that “(i)n the context in which it is used in the NIRC, an assessment is a written notice and demand made by the BIR on the taxpayer for the settlement of a due tax liability that is there definitely set and fixed.”

The FLD states that the “(i)nterest and total amount due shall be adjusted up to actual date of payment.”

The CTA also ruled that “the prosecution failed to prove that the FDDA (Final Decision on Disputed Assessment) was actually received by the accused.” — Bianca Angelica D. Añago