Supreme Court clears Metrobank in P478-million tax case
- Edu Punay () - August 17, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) of any liability in a P477.58-million documentary stamp tax case involving its universal savings account (UNISA) in 1999.

In a 26-page decision, the third division of the High Court nullified a 2007 ruling by the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) and declared that Metrobank is exempt from payment of documentary taxes due to its availment of the Tax Amnesty Program under R.A. 9480 (Tax Amnesty Act).

“Therefore, by virtue of the availment by Metrobank of the Tax Amnesty Program…it is already immune from the payment of taxes, including deficiency DTS on the UNISA for 1999, as well as the addition thereto,” stated the decision penned by Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario.

In affirming Metrobank’s right to tax amnesty, the Court junked BIR’s claim that the assessment against the bank for deficiency DST for 1999 has already attained finality, thus, it is no longer qualified for tax amnesty.

The BIR also insisted that deficiency in DST is not covered by the tax amnesty under R.A. 9480.

The Court said it cannot give merit to BIR’s allegation that Metrobank failed to submit the relevant supporting documents within 60 days from filing of its protest and to appeal to the CTA its inaction on its protest within 30 days from the lapse of the 180-day period as provided for in Section 228 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

The SC noted that the BIR failed to identify the documents that Metrobank should have submitted.

It appeared, according to the SC, that the bank submitted sufficient documents to the BIR to have enabled the latter to issued a ruling on March 2, 2004 on the protest of the bank.

“If, indeed, the assessment became final and executory when the bank failed to file an appeal with the CTA by Oct. 13, 2003, why then did the BIR even bother with resolving the protest of Metro-bank against the assessment and rendering a decision thereon on March 2, 2004,” the CA said.

“That the BIR issued a decision on March 2, 2004 denying the protest of Metrobank belies its own assertion herein that the assessment subject of the protest became final and executory after Oct. 13, 2003,” it added.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO BIR COURT OF TAX APPEALS HIGH COURT METROBANK METROBANK OF THE TAX AMNESTY PROGRAM METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST CO NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE SUPREME COURT TAX TAX AMNESTY ACT
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