Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Madrigal vs. Rafferty

Facts: Vicente Madrigal and Susana Paterno were legally married prior to January 1, 1914, contracted under the provisions of law concerning conjugal partnerships. In 1915, Madrigal filed a sworn declaration with the CIR showing that his total net income for the year 1914 was P296,302.73. Subsequently Madrigal submitted the claim that the said P296,302.73 did not represent his income for the year 1914, but was in fact the income of the conjugal partnership existing between himself and his wife Susana Paterno, and that in computing and assessing the additional income tax provided by the Act of Congress of October 3, 1913, the income declared by Vicente Madrigal should be divided into two equal parts, one-half to be considered the income of Vicente Madrigal and the other half of Susana Paterno.

After payment under protest, and after the protest of Madrigal had been decided adversely by the CIR, action was begun by Madrigal and his wife Paterno in the CFI of Manila against Collector of Internal Revenue and the Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue. CFI decided against Madrigal and Paterno.

Appellees contend that the taxes imposed by the Income Tax Law are as the name implies taxes upon income tax and not upon capital and property; that the fact that Madrigal was a married man, and his marriage contracted under the provisions governing the conjugal partnership, has no bearing on income considered as income, and that the distinction must be drawn between the ordinary form of commercial partnership and the conjugal partnership of spouses resulting from the relation of marriage.

Issue: Whether or not the additional income tax should be divided into two equal parts because of the conjugal partnership

Held: Income as contrasted with capital or property is to be the test. The essential difference between capital and income is that capital is a fund; income is a flow. A fund of property existing at an instant of time is called capital. A flow of services rendered by that capital by the payment of money from it or any other benefit rendered by a fund of capital in relation to such fund through a period of time is called an income. Capital is wealth, while income is the service of wealth.

Susana Paterno, wife of Vicente Madrigal, has an inchoate right in the property of her husband Vicente Madrigal during the life of the conjugal partnership. She has an interest in the ultimate property rights and in the ultimate ownership of property acquired as income after such income has become capital. Susana Paterno has no absolute right to one-half the income of the conjugal partnership. Not being seized of a separate estate, Susana Paterno cannot make a separate return in order to receive the benefit of the exemption which would arise by reason of the additional tax. As she has no estate and income, actually and legally vested in her and entirely distinct from her husband's property, the income cannot properly be considered the separate income of the wife for the purposes of the additional tax. Moreover, the Income Tax Law does not look on the spouses as individual partners in an ordinary partnership. The husband and wife are only entitled to the exemption of P8,000 specifically granted by the law. The higher schedules of the additional tax directed at the incomes of the wealthy may not be partially defeated by reliance on provisions in our Civil Code dealing with the conjugal partnership and having no application to the Income Tax Law. The aims and purposes of the Income Tax Law must be given effect.

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