Thursday, February 23, 2012

CIR vs. Algue [G.R. No. L-28896 February 17, 1988]

Facts: The Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company had earlier appointed Algue as its agent, authorizing it to sell its land, factories and oil manufacturing process. Pursuant to such authority, Alberto Guevara, Jr., Eduardo Guevara, Isabel Guevara, Edith, O'Farell, and Pablo Sanchez, worked for the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation, inducing other persons to invest in it. Ultimately, after its incorporation largely through the promotion of the said persons, this new corporation purchased the PSEDC properties. For this sale, Algue received as agent a commission of P126,000.00, and it was from this commission that the P75,000.00 promotional fees were paid to the aforenamed individuals. 

The petitioner contends that the claimed deduction of P75,000.00 was properly disallowed because it was not an ordinary reasonable or necessary business expense. The Court of Tax Appeals had seen it differently. Agreeing with Algue, it held that the said amount had been legitimately paid by the private respondent for actual services rendered. The payment was in the form of promotional fees. 

Issue: Whether or not the Collector of Internal Revenue correctly disallowed the P75,000.00 deduction claimed by private respondent Algue as legitimate business expenses in its income tax returns. 

Held: The Supreme Court agrees with the respondent court that the amount of the promotional fees was not excessive. The amount of P75,000.00 was 60% of the total commission. This was a reasonable proportion, considering that it was the payees who did practically everything, from the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation to the actual purchase by it of the Sugar Estate properties. 

It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilization society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of the motive power to activate and operate it. Hence, despite the natural reluctance to surrender part of one's hard earned income to the taxing authorities, every person who is able to must contribute his share in the running of the government. The government for its part is expected to respond in the form of tangible and intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people and enhance their moral and material values. This symbiotic relationship is the rationale of taxation and should dispel the erroneous notion that it is an arbitrary method of exaction by those in the seat of power. 

But even as we concede the inevitability and indispensability of taxation, it is a requirement in all democratic regimes that it be exercised reasonably and in accordance with the prescribed procedure. If it is not, then the taxpayer has a right to complain and the courts will then come to his succor. For all the awesome power of the tax collector, he may still be stopped in his tracks if the taxpayer can demonstrate, as it has here, that the law has not been observed.

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