PAL gets P2.1M tax refund for in-flight booze

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INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to refund Philippine Airlines P2.1 million in excise taxes it had paid in 2008.

The taxes were for liquor that PAL had imported for consumption on international flights.

This was the second CTA decision in a month that favored the national flag carrier on the sin tax.

Still, the latest ruling represents only a third of the P6.3 million that PAL had asked that it be refunded. The airline had also asked the court to intervene because of the inaction of the BIR and BOC on PAL’s claim for a tax refund.

In a 25-page decision dated Jan. 17, the CTA said it had decided at least six previous cases involving PAL, the BIR and the BOC on the same issues but for different years. All six rulings were issued in 2012.

In the similar cases, “this court has ruled that (PAL) under its franchise, Presidential Decree No. 1590, is exempt from the payment of specific taxes on its importation of cigarettes, liquor and wine for its catering and commissary supplies for international consumption,” the CTA said.

Further, the court ordered a refund of the excise taxes paid on liquor because PAL was able to prove, among other things, that the products “were not locally available at reasonable prices”—that it cost less to import them.

However, the CTA said PAL was not entitled to a refund on the excise taxes on cigarettes, particularly because it failed to prove that these could not be bought locally at reasonable prices.

In a similar decision issued in December, the CTA ordered the BIR and BOC to return some P1.5 million in excise taxes paid on the same items for the same purpose.

In a 30-page decision issued on Dec. 20, the CTA said PAL proved that it had “erroneously paid” the amount within a five-week period in June and July in 2007.

However, the decision was only a partial victory for the airline because it had petition for a refund of P10.9 million.

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