El Oriente v. Posadas - Taxability of Insurance Proceeds
56 PHIL 147 (1931)
> El Oriente in order to protect itself against the loss that it might suffer by reason of the death of its manager, A. Velhagen, who had had more than thirty-five (35) years of experience in the manufacture of cigars in the Philippines, procured from the Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., of Toronto, Canada, thru its local agent E. E. Elser, an insurance policy on the life of the said A. Velhagen for the sum of $50,000, United States currency designating itself as the beneficiary.
> El Oriente paid for the premiums due thereon and charged as expenses of its business all the said premiums and deducted the same from its gross incomes as reported in its annual income tax returns, which deductions were allowed upon a showing that such premiums were legitimate expenses of its business.
> Upon the death of A. Velhagen in 1929, the El Oriente received all the proceeds of the said life insurance policy, together with the interests and the dividends accruing thereon, aggregating P104,957.88
> CIR assessed El Oriente for deficiency taxes because El Oriente did not include as income the proceeds received from the insurance.
Whether or not the proceeds of insurance taken by a corporation on the life of an important official to indemnify it against loss in case of his death, are taxable as income under the Philippine Income Tax Law
In Chapter I of the Tax Code, is to be found section 4 which provides that, "The following incomes shall be exempt from the provisions of this law: (a) The proceeds of life insurance policies paid to beneficiaries upon the death of the insured . . ." Section 10, as amended, in Chapter II On Corporations, provides that, "There shall be levied, assessed, collected, and paid annually upon the total net income received in the preceding calendar year from all sources by every corporation . . .a tax of three per centum upon such income . . ." Section 11 in the same chapter, provides the exemptions under the law, but neither here nor in any other section is reference made to the provisions of section 4 in Chapter I.
Under the view we take of the case, it is sufficient for our purposes to direct attention to the anomalous and vague condition of the law. It is certain that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid to individual beneficiaries upon the death of the insured are exempt. It is not so certain that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid to corporate beneficiaries upon the death of the insured are likewise exempt. But at least, it may be said that the law is indefinite in phraseology and does not permit us unequivocally to hold that the proceeds of life insurance policies received by corporations constitute income which is taxable
It will be recalled that El Oriente, took out the insurance on the life of its manager, who had had more than thirty-five years' experience in the manufacture of cigars in the Philippines, to protect itself against the loss it might suffer by reason of the death of its manager. We do not believe that this fact signifies that when the plaintiff received P104,957.88 from the insurance on the life of its manager, it thereby realized a net profit in this amount. It is true that the Income Tax Law, in exempting individual beneficiaries, speaks of the proceeds of life insurance policies as income, but this is a very slight indication of legislative intention. In reality, what the plaintiff received was in the nature of an indemnity for the loss which it actually suffered because of the death of its manager.