Friday 22 March, 2019
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Tax court withdraws P76-M tax versus Liberal financier’s mining company

The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has cancelled the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) P76.2-million income tax assessment against SR Metals, Inc., (SRMI), the nickel mining company of Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Rep. Edgar Erice and financier Eric Gutierrez.

In a recent 18-page decision, the court’s Special 3rd Division took “judicial notice” of the Supreme Court’s (SC) October 3 decision affirming SRMI’s five-year income tax holiday (ITH) incentive from 2008 to 2012.

The SC ruling affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) December 4, 2014 reversal of the Board of Investments’ (BOI) May 24, 2012 withdrawal of the ITH incentive.

The BIR still held SRMI liable for unpaid taxes in its December 14, 2015 final decision on disputed assessment (FDDA), because the company could not submit a BOI certificate of entitlement. It also argued the CA decision had not attained finality at the time.

However, since the SC affirmed the CA decision, the CTA said it had to recognize SRMI’s tax break.

“The Supreme Court by tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has the last word on what the law is. It is the final arbiter of any justiciable controversy,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ma. Belen Ringpis-Liban.

The SC ruled the BOI’s cancellation of SRMI’s incentive, on the ground of failure to establish a nickel beneficiation plant, was baseless since the company never promised to do so and only applied to be a “new producer of beneficiated silicate ore.”

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