Pagcor told to pay P48M in fringe benefit tax

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MANILA, Philippines—Going to higher authority will not save a taxpayer from his obligations, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) learned in a costly way.

The Court of Tax Appeals en banc has ordered Pagcor to pay P48.6 million in fringe benefit tax (FBT) due for 2004, relating to the car plans for its officers.

The appellate court was acting on a petition from Pagcor to review a decision of the CTA’s first division that denied the state-run firm’s claim for exemption from FBT payment.

In January 2008, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued to Pagcor a final assessment notice which demanded the payment of the tax.

Pagcor provides car plans to qualified company officers, under which Pagcor shoulders 60 percent of the vehicles’ cost.

Pagcor contested the BIR’s assessment and filed a petition with the CTA first division in March 2009. This was later dismissed for having been filed beyond the prescribed three years.

Pagcor moved for reconsideration, but this was denied for lack of merit.

The CTA en banc noted that Pagcor filed with the concerned BIR regional office a protest against the assessment notice in January 2008, the same month it was received.

However, Pagcor elevated the protest to the Internal Revenue Commissioner’s office eight months later when the regional office had not acted on the earlier protest.

The CTA said the 180-day period within which the protest must be acted on starts from January when Pagcor filed its protest in the regional office and not August when the protest was brought to the BIR chief.

The Tax Code provides that a taxpayer has 30 days from the lapse of the 180-day period to bring a case to the CTA.

The CTA first division said Pagcor should have filed a petition with the court not later than Aug. 21, 2008.

“The (Pagcor petition) was filed way beyond the reglementary period for appeal on March 11, 2009,” the first division said in its decision, which the court en banc upheld.

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