THE Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) denied for lack of merit the appeal of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over the cancellation of P50.5-million tax assessment against South Luzon Tollway Corp. over its documentary stamp tax (DST) along with other charges.

In a four-page resolution on Dec. 10, the court, sitting en banc, said the motion for reconsideration of the BIR “virtually raises the same arguments he had previously stated in his Petition for Review.”

“Wherefore, with the foregoing, the Court finds no reason to reverse the assailed Decision of 28 October 2019. Accordingly, petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration dated 19 November 2019 is denied for lack of merit,” the court ruled.

The petition for review of the BIR was dismissed due to the invalidity of its final letter of demand (FLD), which lack definite date of payment, with the court citing a decision by the Supreme Court, which ruled that a final assessment notice (FAN) must demand payment within a specific period.

The BIR said in its motion for reconsideration that the FAN/FLD it issued “has contained a fixed date of demand.”

“It is true that the subject FLD demands that the respondent’s tax liabilities be paid within a specified time as indicated in the FLD, otherwise, the amount of interest would necessitate adjustment,” the court said.

“However, the alleged due date appears nowhere in the FLD. As observed correctly by the First Division, the space where the due date should have appeared was left in blank thus, leaving the taxpayer guessing as to when the payment falls due. Unfortunately for petitioner, this misstep voids the FLD for being an inadequate form of demand,” it added.

The court on Oct. 28 upheld the July 2018 decision and January 2019 resolution of its first division which cancelled the assessment against South Luzon Tollway.

The first division also ordered the refund of P49.8 million allegedly erroneously paid DST which it said was undisputed by the parties.

South Luzon Tollway has paid P49.78-million DST and other penalties and it informed the BIR that it wold file an administrative claim for refund over the DST in October 2015. The BIR issued an FLD with assessment notice for the payment of P25.5 million of DST and P25 million for penalties. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas