Saturday, March 10, 2012

CIR vs. Mitsubishi Metal Corporation (G.R. No. L-54908. January 22, 1990)

Facts: On April 17, 1970, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation entered into a Loan and Sales Contract with Mitsubishi Metal Corporation, a Japanese corporation licensed to engage in business in the Philippines, for purposes of the projected expansion of the productive capacity of the former's mines in Toledo, Cebu. Under said contract, Mitsubishi agreed to extend a loan to Atlas 'in the amount of $20,000,000.00, United States currency. Atlas, in turn undertook to sell to Mitsubishi all the copper concentrates produced for a period of fifteen (15) years. Mitsubishi thereafter applied for a loan with the Export-Import Bank of Japan (Eximbank) for purposes of its obligation under said contract. Its loan application was approved on May 26, 1970 in the equivalent sum of $20,000,000.00 in United States currency at the then prevailing exchange rate. The records in the Bureau of Internal Revenue show that the approval of the loan by Eximbank to Mitsubishi was subject to the condition that Mitsubishi would use the amount as a loan to Atlas and as a consideration for importing copper concentrates from Atlas, and that Mitsubishi had to pay back the total amount of loan by September 30, 1981. Pursuant to the contract between Atlas and Mitsubishi, interest payments were made by the former to the latter totaling P13,143,966.79 for the years 1974 and 1975. The corresponding 15% tax thereon in the amount of P1,971,595.01 was withheld pursuant to Section 24 (b) (1) and Section 53 (b) (2) of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 131, and duly remitted to the Government. 

Issue: Whether or not the interest income from the loans extended to Atlas by Mitsubishi is excludible from gross income taxation pursuant to Section 29 of the tax code and, therefore, exempt from withholding tax. 

Held: The court ruled in the negative. Eximbank had nothing to do with the sale of the copper concentrates since all that Mitsubishi stated in its loan application with the former was that the amount being procured would be used as a loan to and in consideration for importing copper concentrates from Atlas. Such an innocuous statement of purpose could not have been intended for, nor could it legally constitute, a contract of agency. The conclusion is indubitable; MITSUBISHI, and NOT EXIMBANK, is the sole creditor of ATLAS, the former being the owner of the $20 million upon completion of its loan contract with EXIMBANK of Japan. It is settled a rule in this jurisdiction that laws granting exemption from tax are construed strictissimi juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing power. Taxation is the rule and exemption is the exception. The burden of proof rests upon the party claiming exemption to prove that it is in fact covered by the exemption so claimed, which the petitioners have failed to discharge. Significantly, private respondents are not among the entities which, under Section 29 of the tax code, are entitled to exemption and which should indispensably be the party in interest in this case. 

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