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L38540

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.L38540April30,1987

REPUBLICOFTHEPHILIPPINES,petitioner,
vs.
THECOURTOFAPPEALS,andNIELSON&COMPANY,INC.,respondents.

TheSolicitorGeneralforpetitioner.

Quasha,Aspillera,Zafra,TayagandAnchetaforrespondents.

PADILLA,J.:

ThisisapetitionforreviewoncertiorariofthedecisionoftherespondentCourtofAppeals 1 in CA G.R. No. 37417R,


dated 3 April 1974, reversing the decision of the then Court of First Instance of Manila which ordered private respondent Nielson & Co., Inc. to pay the
Government the amount of P11,496.00 as ad valorem tax, occupation fees, additional residence tax and 25% surcharge for late payment, for the years
1949to1952,andcostsofsuit,andoftheresolutionoftherespondentCourt,dated31May1974,denyingpetitioner'smotionforreconsiderationofsaid
decisionof3April1974.

In a demand letter, dated 16 July 1955 (Exhibit A), the Commissioner of Internal Revenue assessed private
respondentdeficiencytaxesfortheyears1949to1952,totallingP14,449.00,computedasfollows:

11/2%advaloremtaxonP448,000.00..........................P7,320.00

25%surchargeforlatepayment......................................1,830.00

Occupationfeesfortheyears1949

to1952atP1.00perha.per

yearon1,230hectares.....................................4,920.00

AdditionalresidencetaxonP79,000.00

atP1.00pereveryP5,000.00

peryearorP75.00x4years................................303.20

25%surchargeforlatepayment.........................................75.00

TOTALAMOUNTDUE............................P14,449.002

Petitionerreiterateditsdemanduponprivaterespondentforpaymentofsaidamount,perlettersdated24April
1956 (Exhibit D), 19 September 1956 (Exhibit E) and 9 February 1960 (Exhibit F). Private respondent did not
contest the assessment in the Court of Tax Appeals. On the theory that the assessment had become final and
executory,petitionerfiledacomplaintforcollectionofthesaidamountagainstprivaterespondentwiththeCourt
of First Instance of Manila, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 42911. However, for failure to serve
summonsuponprivaterespondent,thecomplaintwasdismissed,withoutprejudice,intheCourt'sorderdated30
June 1961. On motion, the order of dismissal was set aside, at the same time giving petitioner sixty (60) days
withinwhichtoservesummonsuponprivaterespondent.

Forfailureanewtoservesummons,theCourtofFirstInstanceofManilaissuedanorderdated4October1962
dismissingCivilCaseNo.42911withoutprejudice.Theorderofdismissalbecamefinalon5November1962.

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On 15 November 1962, the complaint against private respondent for collection of the same tax was refiled, but
the same was erroneously docketed as Civil Case No. 42911, the same case previously dismissed without
prejudice. Without correcting this error, another complaint was filed on 26 November 1963, docketed as Civil
CaseNo.55817,thesubjectmatterofthepresentappeal.

As herein earlier stated, the Court aquo rendered a decision against the private respondent. On appeal to the
respondentCourtofAppeals,thedecisionwasreversed.Petitioner,RepublicofthePhilippines,filedamotionfor
reconsiderationwhichwaslikewisedeniedbysaidCourtinaresolutiondated31May1974.Hence,thispetition,
withthefollowingassignmentoferrors:

THECOURTOFAPPEALSERREDINNOTHOLDINGTHATTHELETTEROFASSESSMENTDATEDJULY16,
1955, EXHIBIT "A," WAS RECEIVED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENT IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF THE MAIL
PURSUANTTOSECTION8,RULE13OFTHEREVISEDRULESOFCOURT.

II

THECOURTOFAPPEALSERREDINNOTHOLDINGTHATPRIVATERESPONDENTFAILEDTOREBUTTHE
PRESUMPTION THAT THE LETTER ASSESSMENT DATED JULY 16, 1955, HAVING BEEN DULY DIRECTED
AND MAILED WAS RECEIVED IN THE REGULAR COURSE OF THE MAIL AND THAT OFFICIAL DUTY HAS
BEENREGULARLYPERFORMED.

III

THAT,ASSUMING,WITHOUTADMITTING,THATTHELETTERDATEDJULY16,1955(EXHIBIT"A")CANNOT
BE CONSIDERED AS AN ASSESSMENT, ON THE THEORY THAT THE SAME HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED BY
PRIVATE RESPONDENT, THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE LETTER OF THE
DEPUTY COLLECTOR (NOW DEPUTY COMMISSIONER) OF INTERNAL REVENUE DATED SEPTEMBER 19,
1956(EXHIBIT"E")ISITSELFANASSESSMENTWHICHWASDULYRECEIVEDBYPRIVATERESPONDENT.

RelyingontheprovisionsofSection8,Rule13andSection5,paragraphsm&v.Rule131oftheRevisedRules
of Court, petitioner claims that the demand letter of 16 July 1955 showed an imprint indicating that the original
thereof was released and mailed on 4 August 1955 by the Chief, Records Section of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue, and that the original letter was not returned to said Bureau thus, said demand letter must be
consideredtohavebeenreceivedbytheprivaterespondent. 3Accordingtopetitioner,ifserviceismadebyordinary
mail, unless the actual date of receipt is shown, service is deemed complete and effective upon the expiration of five (5)
daysaftermailing.4Astheletterofdemanddated16July1955wasactuallymailedtoprivaterespondent,therearisesthe
presumptionthattheletterwasreceivedbyprivaterespondentintheabsenceofevidencetothecontrary. 5Moreso,where
privaterespondentdidnotofferanyevidence,excepttheselfservingtestimonyofitswitness,thatithadnotreceivedthe
originalcopyofthedemandletterdated16July1955.6

We do not agree with petitioner's above contentions. As correctly observed by the respondent court in its
appealed decision, while the contention of petitioner is correct that a mailed letter is deemed received by the
addressee in the ordinary course of mail, stilt this is merely a disputable presumption, subject to controversion,
and a direct denial of the receipt thereof shifts the burden upon the party favored by the presumption to prove
thatthemailedletterwasindeedreceivedbytheaddressee.Thus:

AppelleecontendsthatperExhibitA,thenoticewasreleasedandmailedtotheappellantbytheBIR
on Aug. 4, 1955 under the signature of the Chief, Records Section, Office that since the original
thereofwasnotreturnedtotheappellee,thepresumptionisthattheappellantreceivedthemailed
notice.Thisiscorrect,butthisbeingmerelyameredisputablepresumption,thesameissubjectto
controversion,andadirectdenialofthereceiptthereofshiftstheburdenuponthepartyfavoredby
the presumption to prove that the mailed letter was received by the addressee. The appellee,
however,arguesthatsincenoticewasrc,Ieasedandmailedandthefactofitsreleasewasadmitted
bytheappellanttheadmissionisproofthathereceivedthemailednoticeofassessment.Wedonot
thinkso.ItistruetheCourtaquomadesuchafindingoffact,butaspointedoutbytheappehantin
itsbrief,andasborneoutbytherecords,nosuchadmissionwasevermadebytheappellantinthe
answerorinanyotherpleading,orinanydeclaration,oralordocumentarybeforethetrialcourt.We
note that the appellee has not met this challenge, and after a review of the records, we find
appeflant'sassertionwelltaken.7

Sincepetitionerhasnotadducedproofthatprivaterespondenthadinfactreceivedthedemandletterof16July
1955,itcannotbeassumedthatprivaterespondentreceivedsaidletter.Records,however,showthatpetitioner
wroteprivaterespondentafollowupletterdated19September1956,reiteratingitsdemandforthepaymentof
taxesasoriginallydemandedinpetitioner'sletterdated16July1955.Thisfollowupletterisconsideredanotice

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ofassessmentinitselfwhichwasdulyreceivedbyprivaterespondentinaccordancewithitsownadmission.8 The
aforesaidletterreads:

September19,1956

NielsonandCompany,Inc.

AyalaBoulevard,Manila

Gentlemen:

In reply to you (sic) letter dated June 1, 1956 relative to your pending internal revenue tax liability
involvingtheamountofP15,649.00asannualoccupationfees,advaloremandadditionalresidence
taxes, surcharges and penalty, originally demanded of you on July 16, 1955, I have the honor to
informyouthatinvestigationconductedbyanagentofthisofficeshowthatyouandtheHixbarGold
Mining Co., Inc. entered into an agreement in 1938 whereby you were given full exclusive and
irrevocablecontrolofalltheoperations,development,processingandmarketingofmineralproducts
fromthelatter'sminesandthatautheassessments,taxesandfeesofanynatureinconnectionwith
thesaidoperation,development,proceedingandmarketingoftheseproductsshallbepaidbyyou.
Inviewthereof,anditappearingthattheaforesaidtaxliabilitiesaccruedwhenyourcontractwasin
funforceandeffect,youaretherefore,thepartyhableforthepaymentthereof,notwithstandingthe
alleged contract subsequently entered into by you and the Hixbar Gold Mining Co., Inc. on
September9,1954.

Itistherefore,againrequestedthatpaymentoftheaforesaidamountofP15,649.00bemadetothe
CityTreasurer,Manilawithinfive(5)daysfromyourreceipthereofsothatthiscasemaybeclosed.

YouarefurtherrequestedtopaythesumofP150.00ascompromisesuggestedinourlettertoyou
datedFebruary24,1955,itappearingthatthesamehasnotasyetbeenpaiduptothepresent.

Veryrespectfullyyours,

JOSEARANAS

DeputyCollectorofInternalRevenue9

UnderSection7ofRepublicActNo.1125,theassessmentisappealabletotheCourtofTaxAppealswithinthirty
(30)daysfromreceiptoftheletter.Thetaxpayer'sfailuretoappealinduetime,asinthecaseatbar,makesthe
assessmentinquestionfinal,executoryanddemandable.Thus,privaterespondentisnowbarredfromdisputing
thecorrectnessoftheassessmentorfrominvokinganydefensethatwouldreopenthequestionofitsliabilityon
themerits.10

InMamburaoLumberCo.vs.Republic,11thisCourtfurthersaid:

Inasuitforcollectionofinternalrevenuetaxes,asinthiscase,wheretheassessmenthasalreadybecomefinal
andexecutory,theactiontocollectisakintoanactiontoenforceajudgment.Noinquirycanbemadethereinas
tothemeritsoftheoriginalcaseorthejustnessofthejudgmentreliedupon....

ACCORDINGLY,theappealeddecisionisherebyreversed.ThedecisionoftheCourtaquoisherebyreinstated.
Nocosts.

SOORDERED.

Fernan(Chairman),Gutierrez,Jr.,BidinandCortes,JJ.,concur.

Paras,J.,tooknopart.

Footnotes

1PennedbyJusticeRamonG.Gaviola,Jr.withtheconcurenceofJusticesGuillermoB.Santosand
PacificodeCastro.

2Rollo,p.28.

3BriefforPetitioner,p.7.

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4BriefforPetitioner,p.7.

5BriefforPetitioner,p.12.

6BriefforPetitioner,p.12.

7Rollo,p.30.

8BriefforthePrivateRespondent,p.5.

9BriefforRespondent,pp.1617.

10Republicvs.LimTianTengSons&Co.,Inc.,16SCRA584.

11G.R.No.L37061promulagatedonSept.5,1984,132SCRA1.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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