SC grants petition to determine Malampaya contractor’s tax liabilities

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THE SUPREME COURT (SC) granted a state plea to determine a Malampaya project contractor’s tax liabilities, ruling that the absence of a valid assessment for deficiency taxes in her case does not undermine her civil liability for unpaid taxes.

In the 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, the High Court ordered the Court of Appeals (CTA) First Division to determine Rebecca S. Tiotangco’s civil liability for taxes and penalties for 2008-2010.

The CTA en banc had reserved from imposing civil liability for unpaid taxes on Ms. Tiotangco despite finding her guilty of two criminal tax violations in a decision rendered in 2020 because of the “lack of a valid assessment.”

However, the SC cited the recent ruling in “People v. Mendez” and reiterated that “a valid assessment for tax deficiency is not necessary for collecting the taxpayer-accused’s civil liability for unpaid taxes.”

Meanwhile, the CTA en banc cited the 1997 Tax Code which orders the inclusion of an order for payment of unpaid taxes in the criminal case and the final determination of civil liability by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Ms. Tiotangco owns Anilos Trading and Construction, a company involved in the Malampaya graft cases from 2008 to 2010 in Palawan, during the incumbency of then governor Joel T. Reyes.

The Sandiganbayan indicted her in January 2024 for a graft case amounting to almost P92 million across 26 projects. — Chloe Mari A. Hufana