Historically, in 1972 P.D. 25, as amended, created a Central Board of Tax Appeals, the forerunner of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals, comprising the Secretary of Finance, as Chairman and the Secretaries of Justice and Local Government and Community Development as Members. In 1974, the Board of Hearing Commissioners was created to ensure expeditious disposition of all cases involving contested assessments. It was composed of a Chief Hearing Commissioner as Presiding Commissioner and four Hearing Commissioners as Members. It served also as the administrative body of the Central Board of Tax Appeals. Under P.D. 464 it was known as the CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS (CBAA), with the same composition, powers and duties.
In 1991, upon the enactment and approval of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the new Local Government Code of 1991, the Central Board of Assessment Appeals was made into an independent body. It is composed of a Chairman and two Members, to be appointed by the President, who shall serve for a term of seven years, without reappointment. Of the first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, one member for five years and the other member for three years. The Board shall have appellate jurisdiction over all assessment and collection cases decided by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board of Hearing Commissioners was replaced by the Hearing Officers to be appointed by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals, pursuant to Civil Service laws, rules and regulations, one each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, who shall hold office in Manila, Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City, respectively, and who shall serve for a term of six years without reappointment.
The Central Board of Assessment Appeals, mandated under RA 7160, is a collegial appellate quasi-judicial body which decides on appeal before it, decision of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of municipalities and cities of Metro Manila and provincial and city Local Board of Assessment Appeals nationwide. Under section 229 (c) of the said law, its decision is final and executory and the only remedy available for seeking a review of its decision is the special civil action of certiorari before the Supreme Court. However, in a recent issuance of Administrative Circular #1–95 (Revised Circular #1–91) by the Supreme Court, all decisions by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals shall be appealable to the Court of Appeals through a petition for review.
The provisions of R.A. 7160 explicitly enumerates the cases covered by the jurisdiction and powers of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals as appealed from the decision of the Local Boards of Assessment Appeals nationwide. These are the following:
All real property tax assessment cases
(Section 230 R.A. 7160)
Claim for Refund of erroneous payment of real property
taxes (Section 252 R.A. 7160)
Claim for tax credit for excessive payment of real property
taxes and interests (Section 253 R.A. 7160) and
Protest against excessive or illegal special levy by
local government units. (Section 244 R.A. 7160)
In the performance of its powers and duties, the Central Board may establish and organize staffs, offices, units and prescribe the titles, functions and duties of their members and shall adopt and promulgate its rules of procedures relative to the conduct of its business.
The Local Board of Assessment Appeals dates back to the Malolos Constitution, when the Philippine Commission enacted Act No. 82 (Municipal Code) on January 31, 1901, introducing and formally instituting real property taxation in the Philippines. It also created a Municipal Board of Assessment Appeals composed of the Municipal President, Municipal Treasurer and a Deputy of the Provincial Treasurer. Subsequently the Philippine Commission passed Act No. 83, otherwise known as the Provincial Act. The Provincial Treasurer was charged with the supervision of the real property assessment and tax collection. These Act Nos. 82 & 83 laid down the groundworks of real property taxation. In 1916, the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 2657 which incorporated the aforementioned Municipal Code. After a series of amendments, the Revised Assessment Law under Act No. 3995 was abrogated with the passage of C.A. No. 470 on June 16, 1939 by the National Assembly. Under C.A. No. 470, the Local Board of Assessment Appeals (LBAA) was created and with regards to cities, the same was established in their respective charters. Under the said Act, any reassessment or decision rendered by the Board shall be appealable to the Secretary of Finance. Amendments to the said Act was introduced upon the promulgation of PD No. 25 which took effect on October 20, 1972. Under the said decree, the decisions of the Provincial or City Board are appealable to the Central Board of Tax Appeals, which is composed of the Secretary of Finance, as Chairman, the Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of Local Government and Community Development, as Members, whose decision shall be final . Under the said decree the Central Board of Tax Appeals was given the power to promulgate rules and regulations governing the procedures in such appeals.
With the issuance of PD No. 76 on December 6, 1972, the members comprising the Local Board of Tax (Assessment) Appeals were provided for, wherein the Register of Deeds was named as Chairman, the Provincial or City Auditor and the Provincial or City Auditor and the Provincial or City Engineer, as members, whose decision was appealable to the Central Board of Assessment (Tax) Appeals.
Amendments as to the Composition of the CBAA were introduced under PD No. 424 which took effect on April 8, 1974. Under the said decree, the Board of Commissioners and staff are created to assist the CBAA in order to insure the expeditious disposition of all cases involving contested assessment. The Board was composed of: (1) Central Board Chief of Hearing Commissioner, (2) Four Central Board Hearing Commissioners, (3) Central Board Secretary, (4) Four Central Board Stenographers (5) Three Central Board Docket and Filing Clerks and such other positions as the Central Board may deem necessary.
The Secretary of Finance as Chairman of CBAA is empowered to appoint the members of the Board of Commissioners and Staff.
Came now, PD No. 464 on June 1, 1974, clearly providing for the organization, powers and functions of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals.
It was expressly stated that in provinces or cities without Provincial or City Engineers, the Highway District Engineer shall serve as member of the Board, likewise in an ex-officio capacity, without additional compensation. In the absence of the regular appointee, the officer performing the duties of the Register of Deeds, or the Provincial or City Auditor or the Provincial City or Highway District Engineer whether in an acting capacity or as a duly designated officer-in-charge shall automatically become the Chairman of the Board, under this decree, was given the prerogative to designate any employee of the province or city to serve as Secretary of the Board without additional compensation.
The LBAA in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction was given the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, conduct ocular inspection, take depositions and issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum. The decisions of the LBAA as in the previous decrees are likewise appealable to the CBAA.
On the other hand, the CBAA or upon expressed authority, by the Hearing Commissioners, shall in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction performs the same power and duties as that of the LBAA. The CBAA was also authorized to adopt and promulgate rules of procedure relative to the conduct of the business.
Finally, with the enactment on October 10, 1991 of RA No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government of Code 1991 specifically Chapter 3, Title Two, Book II, thereof the Organization, Powers and Functions of the LBAA as well as the CBAA is clearly provided for.
As embodied in Section 227 of the code, the LBAA shall have expanded powers and functions to include some actions of the treasurers.