THE SUPREME COURT (SC) has upheld a tax court decision that partially granted Vestas Services Philippines, Inc.’s (VSPI) tax refund claim in the amount of P4.4 million representing its excess input value-added tax (VAT) traced to zero-rated sales for the fourth quarter of 2013.

In an 18-page decision made public on May 10, the High Court said the commissioner of internal revenue failed to persuade the court to overturn the partially refunded tax.

The company previously sought a VAT refund in the total amount of P41.66 million.

“Based on their appreciation of the evidence presented to them, the CTA (Court of Tax Appeals) unequivocally ruled that VSPI was only able to prove its entitlement to the refund or the issuance of a tax credit certificate for unutilized input VAT for the fourth quarter of 2013,” according to the ruling penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando.

“We would like to stress that the findings of facts of the CTA when supported by substantial evidence, will not be disturbed on appeal.”

The tribunal ordered the Office of the Solicitor General, which serves as the legal counsel for the commissioner of internal (CIR), and VSPI to submit a verified declaration of its receipt of the High Court’s decision.

The firm is engaged in installation and construction activities, including subcontracting arrangements for wind power systems.

The tax court noted the CIR failed to provide evidence or raise timely objections on VSPI’s additionally presented evidence.

“A party who desires the court to reject the admission of any evidence formally offered must do so in the form of a timely objection,” it said, adding the firm’s judicial claim to the refund was timely submitted within the 120-day and 30-day period mandated under the law.

Under the country’s tax code, when the CIR denies or fails to act on a claim for a refund, the taxpayer is given 30 days from the receipt of an adverse decision or ruling to file a petition for review with the CTA.

The commissioner is given 120 days to act on a disputed tax assessment; otherwise, the decision would be final.

“Thus, we see no reason to delve into the factual findings of the CTA and review anew the evidence presented by VSPI,” the high tribunal said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez