CTA affirms Mindanao power firm’s partial tax refund


THE Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has upheld its ruling that granted a refund of Western Mindanao Power Corp.’s (WMPC) tax liabilities to the reduced amount of P38.65 million for the fiscal year 2012.

In an 18-page decision made public on Feb. 22, the CTA full court said the commissioner of internal revenue (CIR) failed to cite errors in granting the partial refund.

“The CIR does not point out any specific errors supposedly made by the CTA Third Division in its findings of facts and conclusions,” Associate Justice Catherine T. Manahan said in the ruling.

The tribunal also voided WMPC’s deficiency expanded withholding tax worth P2.34 million due to an error in the Third Division’s computation.

The power company made an overpayment of P437,416.44 after the court mistakenly recomputed for interest.

It previously sought a refund of P50.97 representing alleged income tax, value-added tax, withholding tax on compensation, expanded withholding tax and documentary stamp tax deficiencies.

The CIR argued the tax court’s Third Division did not have jurisdiction over the case since the firm did not substantiate its claims on an administrative level, which the court disagreed with. The official added that the CTA’s jurisdiction is strictly appellate in nature and cannot decide on unsubstantiated claims.

“The power of the Court of Tax Appeals to exercise its appellate jurisdiction does not preclude it from considering evidence that was not presented in the administrative claim in the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” the tribunal said, citing Supreme Court jurisprudence. “As such, parties are expected to litigate and prove every aspect of their case anew and formally offer all their evidence.”

WMPC operates a 100-megawatt diesel-fired power plant in Sangali, Zamboanga City that started its operations in 1997.

The firm is a major supplier of power to the city and its plant remains to be the only major power facility located in the Western Mindanao region. — John Victor D. Ordoñez