Mactan airport tax-exempt–SC
The Supreme Court has declared properties of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) tax exempt, upholding the status of its lots and buildings as public dominion and hence “outside the commerce of man.”
In a 42-page ruling, the high court’s First Division granted MCIAA’s plea to stop the Lapu-Lapu City government from collecting P246.4 million in real property taxes, saying the agency may not be taxed for lots and buildings “used solely and exclusively for public or governmental purpose.”
“The High Court likewise declared null and void the sale in public auction of 27 of MCIAA’s properties, which were earlier sold in public auction for delinquency in realty tax obligations,” said the high court in a statement.
The assailed tax total was based on the city government’s tax assessments on MCIAA property from 1997 to 2002.
The Lapu-Lapu city government then put MCIAA properties under public auction to cover the agency’s unpaid tax dues, “all of which were forfeited and purchased by the local government unit due to a lack of interested bidders.”
The airport authority then brought the matter before the court.
The July 15 ruling, penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, said MCIAA is exempt from paying local real estate taxes fo its airport lands and buildings, being a government instrumentality.
“The airport lands and buildings of MCIAA are properties of public dominion because they are intended for public use. As properties of public dominion, they indisputably belong to the State or the Republic of the Philippines, and are outside the commerce of man,” read the decision.
The local government may only demand taxes from MCIAA for its property leased to private parties.
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