Republic of the Philippines
CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS
M a n i l a

BAY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
Petitioner-Appellant,
CBAA CASE NO. L-54
-versus- (LBAA CASE NO. 2003-06)
Parañaque City
LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF PARAÑAQUE CITY,
Appellee,

-and-

CITY TREASURER OF PARAÑAQUE,
Respondent-Appellee.
X – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – /

D E C I S I O N

BEFORE Us is an Appeal filed on May21, 2004 by Petitioner-Appellant BAY RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (BRADCO) from the Resolution issued by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of the City of Parañaque (the “Local Board”) on February 26, 2004 in LBAA Case No. 2003-06 involving Tax Declaration Nos. E-015-06724 and E-015-06725. Through said Resolution, the Local Board denied Petitioner-Appellant’s appeal thereto, thus:

“Basically, this appeal is an appeal on the assessment and/or tax declarations prepared by the Assessor of Parañaque in 1996.

“Section 226 of the R.A. 7160 provides: Local Board of Assessment Appeals. Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with the copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.

“The appellant appears to have made no such an appeal within the sixty (60) day period as provided by the abovequoted provision of RA 7160.

“Wherefore, this appeal is hereby denied.”

Alleging that it received a copy of the assailed Resolution on April 22, 2004, Petitioner-Appellant seeks a review of the denial by the LBAA of BRADCO’s appeal, the subject of which is the Respondent-Appellee City Treasurer’s own denial of “appellant BRADCO’s request for offsetting of the 1st and 2nd quarter 2003 real property taxes due the City against its pending claim for refund/credit arising from overpayments in the 1st to 3rd quarters of the year 2000 and/or against its excess real property taxes paid for the years 1995 to 1999.”

ANTECEDENT FACTS

As recited by Petitioner-Appellant in its instant petition, the “facts” of this case are as follows, to wit:
“1. BRADCO is the registered owner of two parcels of land having no improvements located in the Aseana Business Park along Roxas Boulevard, Tambo, Parañaque City.

“1.1 One parcel of land has an area of 27,128 sq.m. and is covered by TCT No. 99883 and by Tax Declaration Nos. (sic) E-002-06123.A copy of Tax Declaration No. E-002-06123 is attached hereto as Annex ‘A.’

“1.2 The other parcel has an area of 40,500 sq.m. and is covered by TCT No. 99884 and Tax Declaration No. E-002-06124.A copy of Tax Declaration No. E-002-06124 is attached hereto as Annex ‘B.’

“2. Both properties are classified as commercial land for real property tax purposes.

“2.1 Beginning the year 1995, the properties were assessed at the rate of P9,000.00 per sq.m.

“2.2 Beginning the year 1997, the properties have an assessed value of P12,000 per square meter, as shown in the respective tax declarations Annexes ‘A’ and ‘B.’

“3. In the last quarter of year 2000, the City Treasurer of Parañaque issued two new tax declarations for the properties owned by BRADCO decreasing the assessed value of the properties from P12,000/sq. m. to P6,000/sq.m.

“3.1 Tax Declaration No. E-015-06724 was issued by the City Treasurer for the property covered by TCT No. 99883 with an area of 27,128 sq.m. A copy of Tax Declaration No. E-015-06724 is attached hereto as Annex ‘C.’

“3.2 Tax Declaration No. E-015-06725 was issued by the City Treasurer for the property covered by TCT No. 99884 having an area of 40,500 sq.m. A copy of Tax Declaration No. E-015-06725 is attached hereto as Annex ‘D.’

“4. Using the correct assessed value of P6,000 per square meter, and since the properties are not actually and directly used for commercial purposes, the amount of real property taxes owed by appellant BRADCO should actually be less than it had already paid.

“5. Thus, Appellant had sought a refund of amounts paid in the first to third quarters of the year 2000, and has a pending appeal with the Local Board for its overpayment for this period, totalling Php7,912,476.00 (a copy of BRADCO’s Appeal is attached as Annex ‘E.’

“6. In the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2003, appellant would have had to pay the amount of Php 3,043,260.00 real property taxes for both properties but the appellant did not pay due to financial constraints. However, considering its pending claim for refund and its appeal with this Honorable Board (Annex ‘E’, supra), BRADCO, in a letter dated 30 June 2003 addressed to the local treasurer copy of which is hereto attached as Annex ‘F’, sought to offset this amount of P3,043,260.00 representing real property taxes for the two properties for the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2003, with the remaining amount of credit/refund from its excess payments of real property taxes in the year 2000.

“7. Similarly, appellant overpaid its real property taxes for the years 1995 (when it took ownership of the property), 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

“8. Appellant actually paid the following total amounts for the years in question:

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
P8,216,800.00 P9,129,780.00 P11,686,464.00 P12,173,040.00 P12,173,040.00

Total:Php53,379,124.00

“8.1 Official receipts for payment of real property taxes in 1995 are attached as Annex ‘G;’ 1996 (Annex ‘H’; 1997 (Annex ‘I’); 1998 (Annex ‘J’); and 1999 (Annex ‘K’).

“9. Following the re-assessment of the properties by the City in the year 2000, and appellant BRADCO’s discovery that neighboring properties were assessed lower market values and considered ‘residential’ lots, BRADCO sought a refund of overpayments totalling Php 48,509,908.00 for real estate taxes paid in the years 1995 to 1999 and Php7,912,476.00 for the 1st to 3rd quarter of taxable year 2000. Its claims for overpayment are summarized in the table appearing as Annex ‘L’.

“9.1 In a letter-protest dated 07 December 2001 to the Hon. City Treasurer (copy attached as Annex ‘L’ and ‘L-1’), BRADCO sought a refund of an overpayment totalling Php56,422,384.00, which includes overpayments from the years 1995 to 1999 as described above, and Php7,912,476.00 for overpayments in the first to third quarters of the year 2000.

“9.2 The Php7,912,476.00 claim was denied earlier by the Hon. City Treasurer, and is subject of the pending appeal to this Honorable Board (Annex ‘E’, supra).

“10. The Parañaque City Treasurer denied appellant’s request dated 30 June 2003 that it be allowed to offset any amount due for the 1st and 2nd quarter with the remaining amount of pending refund/credit claims for excessive real property taxes paid in the 1st to 3rd quarters of 2000 in the amount of Php 7,912,476.00, and/or the excessive real property taxes paid in the years 1995 to 1999 in the aggregate amount Php 48,509,508.00, in a letter dated 1 July 2003. A copy of the letter denying the request for offsetting was received by undersigned counsel on 7 July 2003 (attached as Annex ‘M’).

“11. On 26 February 2004, the Local Board of Assessment Appeals rendered a Resolution, a copy of which was received by petitioner on 22 April 2004 (attached as Annex ‘N’), denying the Appeal, hence, this appeal pursuant to Section 229 of the Local Government Code which provides:

‘Section 229. xxx xxx xxx. The owner of the property or the person having legal interest therein or the assessor who is not satisfied with the decision of the Board, may, within thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision of said Board appeal to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals, as herein provided. xxx xxx xxx.’

PETITIONER-APPELLANT’S
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS

“I
“THE LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL BASED SOLELY ON TECHNICALITIES

“II

“THE LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ALLOWING THE SET-OFF OF THE AMOUNT DUE FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND QUARTERS OF THE YEAR 2003 WITH THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF PENDING REFUND CLAIMS FOR OVERPAID REALTY TAXES.”

PETITIONER-APPELLANT’S ARGUMENTS

“I. The Local Board of Assessment Appeals erred in dismissing the appeal based solely on technicalities.

“Section 229 of the Local Government Code expressly provides that the Local Board of Assessment Appeals is mandated to conduct a proceeding that will ascertain the facts of the case without necessarily adhering to technical rules applicable in judicial proceedings, and we quote:

‘SECTION 229.Action by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals.-

‘(a) The Board shall decide the appeal within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of receipt of such appeal. The Board, after hearing, shall render its decision based on substantial evidence or such relevant evidence on record as a reasonable mind might accept to support a conclusion.

‘(b) In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the Board shall have the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, conduct ocular inspection, take depositions, and issue subpoena duces tecum. The proceedings of the Board shall be conducted solely for the purpose of ascertaining the facts without necessarily adhering to technical rules applicable in judicial proceedings.’(Underscoring Ours)

“A litigation is neither a game of technicalities nor a battle of wits and legalisms; rather it is an abiding search for truth, fairness and justice. Prescinding from this, appellant respectfully submits that the Local Board of Assessment Appeals erred in dismissing the appeal based solely on alleged procedural lapses instead of taking into account the meritorious claims of appellant. Moreover, if the Local Board of Assessment Appeals only thoroughly scrutinized the factual background of this case, it could have easily discovered that appellant indeed, seasonably elevated its appeal to the Local Board of Assessment Appeals within the sixty (60) day period from receipt of the local treasurer’s denial of its protest pursuant to pertinent provisions of the Local Government Code.

“Barring any procedural infirmities, appellant respectfully submits that it is entitled to the relief prayed for in its appeal as may be shown below.

“II. The Local Board of Assessment Appeals erred in not allowing the set-off.

“The amounts paid by BRADCO as real property tax for the years 1995 to 1999 are clearly erroneous because the assessed value used in computing real property taxes was P12,000.00 per square meter instead of the correct lower amount of P6,000.00 per square meter.

“The fact that a re-valuation of the assessed properties was made in the last quarter of 2000 – decreasing the assessed value of the properties by half from P12,000/sq.m. to P6,000/sq.m. – indicates that this is the proper rate that should have been applied to the properties from the very beginning.

“Further, there being no improvements on the properties of BRADCO, the actual and direct use of the properties cannot be said to be for commercial purposes. Hence, the assessment level of 50% for the properties is erroneous and instead, the appropriate assessment level should be 20%, for properties for residential use. Assuming without admitting therefore that BRADCO has real property tax deficiencies for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2003 the appropriate assessment level should be 20% which is applicable for properties for residential use.

“12.1 In fact, neighboring properties in the area are assessed at this lower, residential rate.

“Given these circumstances, appellant’s request for offsetting of the amount of Php 3,043,260.00 real property taxes for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2003 against its claim for refund/credit arising from real property tax overpayments in the first to third quarters of year 2000 and/or the excess real property taxes paid for the years 1995 to 1999, should have been granted by the Honorable City Treasurer and the Local Board of Assessment Appeals.

“In addition, if the taxes payable were to be computed based on Municipal Ordinance No. 96-16, the amount of real property tax due should only have been Php 568,075.20 for the 1st and 2nd quarter of year 2003 instead of the Php 3,043,260 as indicated in the Honorable City Treasurer’s Real Estate Tax Delinquency notice.

“WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Board grant appellant BRADCO’s request for offsetting of the 1st and 2nd quarter 2003 real property taxes due the City against its pending claim for refund/credit arising from overpayments in the 1st to 3rd quarters of the year 2000 and/or against its excess real property taxes paid for the years 1995 to 1999.”

Through an “Advice to Answer Appeal” dated June 11, 2004, this Board advised the Appellee Local Board of Assessment Appeals of the City of Parañaque through its Chairman, Atty. Raymond G. Ramos, Respondent-Appellee City Treasurer of Parañaque, Mr. Liberato M. Carabeo, and the City Assessor of Parañaque.

Through an “Advice to Submit Original Records of the Case) also dated June 11, 2004, this Board advised the Appellee Local Board of Assessment Appeals of the City of Parañaque through its Chairman, Atty. Raymond G. Ramos, to submit to this Board the complete original records of the case pursuant to Section 5, Rule IV of the Rules of Procedure before this Board.

An undated “Answer/Comment” jointly signed by City Assessor Soledad E. Samonte and City Treasurer Liberato M. Carabeo was received by this Board on June 30, 2004. Said Answer/Comment state:
“The argument of Appellant BRADCO that the Local Board of Assessment Appeals erred in dismissing its appeal based solely on technicalities is without any merit. Section 226 of RA 7160 provides to wit:

‘SEC. 226. Local Board of Assessment Appeals – Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.’

“Clearly therefore, any taxpayer who is not satisfied with any tax assessments issued by the provincial, city or municipal assessor must, within sixty (60) days from receipt of the written notice thereof, file their appeal before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals (LBAA). Failure to do so on the part of the taxpayer will render such assessment final and demandable. After such period of sixty (60) days without taking the appeal before the LBAA, it already loses jurisdiction (to) take cognizance over any appealed assessments and it is but proper for the said board to dismiss any appeal questioning tax assessments belatedly filed by any affected taxpayer.

“The non-filing of the appeal within the said reglementary period provided by law (Sec. 226, RA 7160) is not merely a procedural lapses as alleged by the appellant but creates an absolute right as clarified by the Supreme Court in its ruling in the case of Callanta vs. Office of the Ombudsman, (pp. 665, SCRA, Vol. 285, Jan. 30, 1995):

‘With respect to real property taxes, the obligation to pay arises on the first day of January of the year following the assessment. Corollarily, on the same date, the right of the local government to collect said taxes also arises. And where the taxpayer fails to question such assessment within the reglementary period provided by law, the local government’s right becomes absolute upon the expiration of such period with respect to that taxpayer’s property.’ “(Underscoring ours)

“As to the claim that the LBAA erred in not allowing the set-off, the same is without merit as it is not allowed under our jurisdiction. Set-off refers to the request of setting the tax due with the alleged overpayment of the taxes. In a line of cases decided by the Supreme Court, one of which is the case of Caltex Philippines, Inc. vs. Commission on Audit, a claim for set-off or legal compensation was not allowed, the court held that:

‘It is settled that a taxpayer may not offset taxes due from the claims that he may have against the government. Taxes cannot be the subject of compensation because the government and taxpayer are not mutually creditors and debtors of each other and a claim for taxes is not such a debt, demand, contract or judgment as is allowed to be set-off.’

“In the same manner, for the sake of argument and granting without conceding that the claim thereof has not prescribed, a claim for set-off is not the proper remedy which the appellant should have taken. Appellant should have availed of the provision of Section 253 of RA 7160, which provides to wit:

‘SEC. 253 Repayment of Excessive Collections. –When an assessment of basic real property tax, or any other tax levied under this Title, is found to be illegal or erroneous and the tax is accordingly reduced or adjusted, the taxpayer may file a written claim for refund or credit for taxes and interests with the provincial or city treasurer within two (2) years from the date the taxpayer is entitled to such reduction or adjustment.’

“(Underscoring supplied)

“Since appellant failed to avail of tax refund or credit within the reglementary period of two (2) years from the date of payment, its cause of action to asked (sic) for the same has prescribed and therefore the instant appeal should be dismiss (sic) for lack of cause of action and the decision of the LBAA be upheld in toto.”

In a “1st TRACER” dated September 8, 2004, this Board reminded the LBAA, through its Chairman, Atty. Raymond G. Ramos, of this Board’s “Advise to Submit Original Records” dated June 11, 2004. The records of the LBAA Case No. 2003-06, with a covering letter dated September 21, 2004, were finally received by this Board on September 22, 2004.

A Memorandum dated February 28, 2005 and signed for Atty. Gil V. Savedia, Counsel for the respondents, was received by this Board on March 1, 2005. A Memorandum for Petitioner-Appellant dated March 1, 2005 was filed with this Board on March 2, 2005.

On October 17, 2011, this Board issued an Order to remand this case to the LBAA of Parañaque for further proceedings on the issue of prescription.

In a Motion for Reconsideration dated 12 December 2011 and received by this Board on December 19, 2011, Respondent-Appellee, by counsel, moved for the reconsideration of the abovementioned Order on the ground that:
“THE COMPETENT COURT (RTC) AND NOT THE LOCAL BOARD ASSESSMENT APPEALS (LBAA) HAS THE APPELLATE JURISDICTION OVER CLAIM (sic) FOR REFUND OR CREDIT OF OVER PAYMENT OF TAXES.”

In short, Respondent-Appellee stated that “the Local Board Assessment Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction over the issue of tax refund/credit” and argued that, since Petitioner-Appellant is not questioning the assessment made by the City Assessor, “petitioner-Appellant BRADCO’s remedy is to appeal the City Treasurer’s denial of its claim for refund before the competent court, which is the Regional Trial Court and NOT to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals, which resolves issue on correct assessment made by the assessor.”

Respondent-Appellee mentioned Section 195 of R.A. 7160 (“the Code”) and quoted the provisions of Section 196 of the same Code, thus:
“Section 196. Claim for Refund or (sic) Tax Credit. No case or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any tax, fees, (sic) or charges (sic) erroneously or illegally collected until a written claim for refund or credit has been filed with (sic) local treasurer. No case or proceeding shall be entertained in any court after the expiration of two (2) years from the date of payment of such tax, fees, (sic) or charge, or from the date the taxpayer is entitled to (sic) refund or credit.”

Petitioner-Appellant BRADCO, in a Motion for Reconsideration dated December 16, 2011 and received by this Board on December 22, 2011, likewise moved for the reconsideration of this Board’s Order dated October 17, 2011, saying “that it is not necessary to remand the case to the LBAA for further proceedings” as it “will result is (sic) a repetition of the entire proceedings, as Petitioner-Appellant, at this point, will just repeat everything that they (sic) presented in the previous proceedings.”

The ground – and the arguments therefor – presented by Respondent-Appellee are misplaced. Sections 195 (Protest on Assessment) and 196 (quoted above) are provisions under Title One (Local Government Taxation) of Book II (Local Taxation and Fiscal Matters) of the Code. As the sub-title of Title One of Book II of the Code suggests, Sections 195 and 196 refer to local taxes. Real property taxes are governed by the provisions of the Code under its Title Two of Book II. Under our jurisprudence, the real property tax is a national tax, not a local tax.
Anyway, in a Resolution dated April 11, 2012, this Board resolved to recall the said Order of October 17, 2011 and decide the case on its merits. The LBAA was ordered to send back to the Board the complete original records of LBAA Case No. 2003-06 .

On June 7, 2012, this Board received the compliance by the LBAA.

To recapitulate, the errors supposedly committed by the Local Board were:
1. THE LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL BASED SOLELY ON TECHNICALITIES; and

2. THE LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ALLOWING THE SET-OFF OF THE AMOUNT DUE FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND QUARTERS OF THE YEAR 2003 WITH THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF PENDING REFUND CLAIMS FOR OVERPAID REALTY TAXES.

Anent the first “error” or issue, We agree with Petitioner-Appellant that the Rules of Procedure should be liberally construed to the end that substantial justice may be served. In fact, as aptly quoted by Petitioner-Appellant, Section 229(b) of R.A. 7160 states that “. . . The proceedings of the Board shall be conducted solely for the purpose of ascertaining the facts without necessarily adhering to technical rules applicable in judicial proceedings.”

However, the laws which may be applicable in this case, be it Section 226 or 252 or 253 of the Code, are not merely adjective or procedural laws, but substantive laws the requirements of which are mandatory and jurisdictional. (See G.R. No. L-12104, Garganta et al. vs. Court of Appeals, as quoted in CBAA Case No. 254, Dec. 27, 1990.)

Black’s Law Dictionary (Eight Edition, p. 44) defines “adjective law” as “The body of rules governing procedure and practice; PROCEDURAL LAW. Also termed adjectival law,” quoting Edwin E. Bryant, The Law of Pleading Under The Code of Civil Procedure 1 (2d e. 1899):
“The body of law in a State consists of two parts, substantive and adjective law. The former prescribes those rules of civil conduct which declare rights and duties of all who are subject to the law. The latter relates to the remedial agencies and procedure by which rights are maintained, their invasion redressed, and the methods by which such results are accomplished in judicial tribunals.”

The subject of the Petitioner-Appellant’s appeal to the Local Board was the Respondent City Treasurer’s denial of Petitioner-Appellant’s request for refund or tax credit or offsetting of the real property taxes due for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2003 against Petitioner’s supposed claim.

Petitioner’s claim for refund or tax credit or set-off was based on BRADCO’s perception that the subject real properties were valued and classified erroneously by the City Treasurer to the Petitioner’s disadvantage. This is abundantly clear from BRADCO’s own allegations in its Appeal. The table below shows the market values and assessment levels (therefore, classifications) as computed by the city treasurer, on one hand, and those computed by BRADCO, on the other, thus:
COMPUTED AREA M. V./ TOTAL ASS. TOTAL TAX TOTAL OVER
BY YEAR (SQ.M.) PER SQ.M. MKT VALUE LEVEL ASS’D VALUE RATE TAXES PAYMENT

Treasurer 1995 67,628 P 9,000 P608,652,000 45% P 273,893,400 3.00% P8,216,802
Bradco 1995 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 2.00% 811,536 P 7,405,266
Treasurer 1996 67,628 P 9,000 P608,652,000 50% P 304,326,000 3.00% P 9,129,780
Bradco 1996 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 2.00% 811,536 8,318,244
Treasurer 1997 67,628 P12,000 P811,536,000 50% P 405,768,000 2.88% P11,686,464
Bradco 1997 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 3.00% 1,082,048 10,604,416
Treasurer 1998 67,628 P12,000 P811,536,000 50% P 405,768,000 3.00% P12,173,040
Bradco 1998 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 3.00% 1,082,048 11,090,992
Treasurer 1999 67,628 P12,000 P811,536,000 50% P 405,768,000 3.00% P12,173,040
Bradco 1999 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 3.00% 1,082,048 11,090,992
Treasurer 2000* 67,628 P12,000 P811,536,000 50% P 405,768,000 3.00% P 9,129,780
Bradco 2000* 67,628 3,000 202,884,000 20% 40,576,800 3.00% 1,217,304 7,912,476

TOTAL CLAIMED OVERPAYMENT P56,422,386
==========
*First three (3) Quarters

In effect, BRADCO questioned the assessments of properties. Petitioner, however, insists that BRADCO is not questioning the action of the city assessor in the assessments of BRADCO’s real properties because Petitioner firmly believes that it was the Respondent City Treasurer who “issued” the tax declarations for the subject properties.

Thus, in its Memorandum dated March 1, 2005 and received by this Board on March 2, 2005, Petitioner-Appellant stated and argued, thus:
“Petitioner-appellant respectfully submits that the respondent-appellee’s reliance on the provisions of Section 226 is totally misplaced. As aptly worded, Section 226 refers to the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor. The said provision does not apply to protest on tax delinquency notices from the city treasurer.

“Petitioner-appellant’s contention finds basis on the provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provide that in the event the protest of the taxpayer is denied by the city treasurer or in case the City Treasurer failed to act on the protest within sixty days from receipt, the taxpayer may avail of the remedies provided in Articles 317 (not 318) and 321 of the Implementing Rules.

“Article 317 of the Implementing Rules grants a taxpayer a period of sixty days within which to elevate its grievance to the Local Board of Assessment Appeals. Thus, considering that respondent-appellee City Treasurer’s denial of the protest dated 9 September 2003 was received by petitioner- appellant on (sic) 17 September 2003, petitioner-appellant, therefore, has sixty-days (sic) from 17 September 2003 or until November 16, 2003 within which to appeal to respondent Local of Assessment Appeals following the mandate of Article 317 of the Implementing Rules.

“It must be emphasized that petitioner’s appeal to the respondent-appellee Local Board of Assessment Appeals arose from the denial of petitioner-appellant’s protest by respondent- appellee (sic) City Treasurer and not by the City Assessor. Clearly, therefore, the provisions of the Implementing Rules on decisions of the City Treasurer applies (sic) and not Section 226 as the latter pertains to the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor.”

The provisions of Section 226 of the Code, and Article 317 of the Code’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), are reproduced hereunder, thus:
“SEC. 226. Local Board of Assessment Appeals. – Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.” (Emphasis supplied)

“ART. 317. Local Board of Assessment Appeals. (a) Any property owner or person having legal interest or claim in the property who is not satisfied with the assessment of his property made by the provincial, city, or municipal assessor pursuant to the provisions of this Rule may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to local board of assessment appeals of the province or city where the subject property is situated by filing a petition under oath in the standard form prescribed therefore, together with copies of the tax declaration and such affidavits or documents in support of the appeal.

“(b) In the case of municipalities within MMA, the appeals may be filed with the municipal board of assessment appeals of each municipality as provided in Article 318 of this Rule.”

As can be readily noted, the provisions of Section 226 of the Code are almost identical with those of Article 317 of the Code’s IRR. This is so because Article 317 is just “implementing” the provisions of Section 226 of the Code.

Clearly, Petitioner-Appellant misread the provisions of Article 317 of the Code’s IRR. Otherwise, why would Petitioner-Appellant insist that the provisions of the said Article apply to the decisions of the City Treasurer when the word “treasurer” is not even mentioned in said Article?

BRADCO did not avail of the provisions of Section 226 of the Code. The questioned assessments, erroneous though they may have been, had become final and unappealable by virtue of the taxpayer’s failure to timely question on appeal the assessments before the Local Board. (See Central Azucarera de Bais, Inc. vs. City Assessor of Bais, CBAA Case No. V-11, Mar. 25, 1998.)

On the second “error” or issue, Petitioner faulted the Local Board for NOT ALLOWING THE SET-OFF OF THE AMOUNT DUE FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND QUARTERS OF THE YEAR 2003 WITH THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF PENDING REFUND CLAIMS FOR OVERPAID REALTY TAXES.
As stated earlier herein, the proximate cause which led Petitioner to ask the Respondent Treasurer for a refund or tax credit or set-off was Petitioner’s perception that the market values and classifications of Petitioner’s properties were incorrect. Although Petitioner does not agree, Petitioner was actually questioning the validity of the assessments made by the city assessor.

Therefore, to prove that it is entitled to a refund or credit or set-off for the taxes it has allegedly overpaid, Petitioner must first establish that its properties were incorrectly assessed indeed. To do this, Petitioner must question the assessments through an appeal to the Local Board pursuant to the provisions of Section 226 of Code. Also as stated earlier herein, Petitioner failed to do so.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, June 22, 2012.

SIGNED
OFELIA A. MARQUEZ
Chairman

“DISSENTED” SIGNED
ROBERTO A. GEOTINA CAMILO L. MONTENEGRO
Member Member