Pacmom knocks out BIR in P1.4-M tax case
MANILA — The Court of Tax Appeals has cancelled the P1.4-million tax dues of Dionisia Pacquiao, the celebrity mother of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, because the Bureau of Internal Revenue violated her right to due process.
In a 26-page decision, the CTA Second Division granted Pacquiao’s petition for review against the January 2015 final decision on disputed assessment (FDDA) issued by then-Revenue Region No. 18 Director Thelma Milabao.
The 2015 FDDA junked Pacquiao’s protest against the income tax and value-added tax assessments imposed on her for the year 2010, prompting her to go to court.
The CTA invalidated the tax bill because Pacquiao was not properly served the preliminary assessment notice (PAN), which would inform her of the assessment as required by Section 3 of Revenue Regulation No. 12-99.
Pacquiao had insisted that she did not receive the PAN dated Sept. 16, 2013. A certain Analyn Abrera received the notice on Oct. 18 but the BIR failed to establish how she was related to the General Santos City resident.
“To consider the receipt of the PAN by another person as deemed receipt [sic] by the taxpayer itself, despite the lack of prior verification of the former’s authority of agency, will put taxpayers in a disadvantageous position and at the mercy of revenue officers,” read the decision.
Even if the PAN was properly served, the court also faulted the BIR for not giving Pacquiao the chance to answer the notice.
The BIR issued both the final assessment notices (FAN) and the final notice of demand on Oct. 16, two days before Pacquiao supposedly received the preliminary assessment notice.
Although taxpayers are given 15 days to respond to the preliminary assessment notice before the final assessment notice is issued, revenue officer Leilah Jane Dohinog testified that the BIR counted this period from the issuance of the notice and not Pacquiao’s receipt.
“It can be inferred that respondent [Milabao] had no intention of giving petitioner [Pacquiao] the opportunity to be heard on her arguments against the PAN (preliminary assessment notice), if any,” the decision read. “Clearly, respondent failed to observe due process when she issued the FLD even before petitioner supposedly received the PAN.”
“The assessment issued by respondent is void and a void assessment bears no valid fruit,” concluded the unanimous ruling penned by Justice Caesar A. Casanova with the concurrence of Justices Juanito C. Castañeda Jr. and Catherine T. Manahan.
Dionisia Pacquiao’s case arose from an investigation in 2013 on her possible tax liabilities, during the height of the BIR’s P3.299-billion tax case against her son Manny and his wife Jinkee.
The BIR, at the time, issued a freeze order on the boxer’s Philippine bank accounts and properties, due to his alleged failure to pay income and value-added taxes for earnings from his boxing fights in the United States from 2008 to 2009.
The CTA en banc on April 2014 issued an order stopping the BIR from garnishing the Pacquiaos’ assets to foot the bill. The Pacquiao matriarch’s tax case is not connected to the pending petition by her son and daughter-in-law. SFM
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