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Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc. vs Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

G.R. No. 207112. December 8, 2015.

Total Gas filed its Amended Quarterly VAT Returns. Total claims that
they incurred unused input VAT credits.

On May 15, 2008, Total filed an administrative claim for the refund.
On August 28, 2008, Total submitted to the BIR additional documents. On
January 23, 2009, Total elevated the case to the CTA.

The CTA dismissed the case citing that the case was prematurely filed
as the neccesary documents were incomplete; that the 120 day period
allowed to the CIR to decide on the claim under Section 112 of the NRC has
not started to run.

With the CTA en banc, the case was again dismissed reiterating the
decision of the Division. The en banc also stated that the reckoning point of
the 120 day period was on May 2008 thus the petition filed on January
2009 was considered belatedly filed.

ISSUES:

1. Whether the claim has prescribed.

2. Whether the Judicial claim was prematurely filed.

RULING:

1. NO. The SC held that Total timely filed its judicial claim on
January 2009.

The NIRC provides that the CIR has 120 days from the date of
submission of complete documents to decide on the claim for tax credits.
Upon inaction of the BIR after 120 days, the taxpayer may, within 30 days,
appeal on the CTA.

The BIR did not give notice to Total with regard to the documents
submitted on August 2008. Thus the counting of the 120 day period should
start from August 2008 or when Total made its submission of complete
documents to support its application. The BIR had until December 2008 to
decide. Because of the BIR's inaction, Total had until January 25, 2009 to
file their judicial claim.

2. NO. The appeal made by Total Gas to the CTA cannot be said to be
premature.

One of the conditions for a judicial claim of refund or credit under the
VAT System is compliance with the 120+30 day mandatory and
jurisdictional periods. Thus, strict compliance with the 120+30 day periods
is necessary for such a claim to prosper.

A distinction must be made between administrative cases appealed


due to inaction and those dismissed at the administrative level due to the
failure of the taxpayer to submit supporting documents. If an
administrative claim was dismissed by the CIR due to the taxpayer's failure
to submit complete documents despite notice/request, then the judicial
claim before the CTA would be dismissible, not for lack of jurisdiction, but
for the taxpayer's failure to substantiate the claim at the administrative
level. When a judicial claim for refund or tax credit in the CTA is an appeal
of an unsuccessful administrative claim, the taxpayer has to convince the
CTA that the CIR had no reason to deny its claim. It becomes imperative for
the taxpayer to show the CTA that not only is he entitled under substantive
law to his claim for refund or tax credit, but also that he satisfied all the
documentary and evidentiary requirements for an administrative claim.
Consequently, a taxpayer cannot cure its failure to submit a document
requested by the BIR at the administrative level by filing the said document
before the CTA.

In this case, Total Gas filed its judicial claim due to the inaction of the BIR.
Considering that the administrative claim was never acted upon; there was
no decision for the CTA to review on appeal per se. Consequently, the CTA
may give credence to all evidence presented by Total Gas, including those
that may not have been submitted to the CIR as the case is being essentially
decided in the first instance.