THE Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the petition of Duty Free Philippines Corp. (DFPC) seeking the refund of allegedly illegally collected value-added tax (VAT) for 2015 worth P142.9 million.
In a 15-page decision on May 30, the CTA special first division ruled that as DFPC is attached to the Department of Tourism under Republic Act (RA) 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 while the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is a sub-group of the Operations Group of the Department of Finance, the tax dispute must be settled by the Department of Justice (DoJ).
“Wherefore, in light of the foregoing considerations, the instant Petition for Review is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” the court ruled.
DFPC filed the petition in March 2017 following the alleged inaction of the BIR on its claim for refund of erroneously or illegally assessed and collected VAT.
The CTA cited Executive Order EO No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 which stated that all disputes, claims and controversies between or among government agencies, offices, and corporations “shall be administratively settled or adjudicated.”
The EO added that all cases involving only questions of law shall be submitted and settled by the Secretary of Justice.
For cases involving mixed questions of law and fact or only factual issues, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) is tasked to settle cases involving only government departments and offices of whom it is the principal law officer or general counsel while the DoJ will handle all other cases not falling under the OSG.
“(T)he parties herein are both public entities under the Executive Branch of the Republic of the Philippines, albeit there is no showing that their principal law officer or general counsel is the Solicitor General. Correspondingly, the subject dispute or claim is one falling under jurisdiction of the Secretary of Justice,” the CTA ruled.
The decision was written by Associate Justice Erlinda P. Uy and concurred in by Presiding Judge Roman G. del Rosario and Associate Justice Cielito N. Mindaro-Grulla. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas