EXXONMOBIL PETROLEUM AND CHEMICAL HOLDINGS, INC. – PHILIPPINE BRANCH VS. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE
Exxonmobil was a US corporation engaged in selling petroleum products to domestic and international carriers. It purchased petroleum products from local suppliers (Caltex and Petron), the excise taxes on which were remitted by the said suppliers but the amount of which were, however, passed-on to Exxonmobil. It then filed a claim for refund of excise taxes paid on its purchase of petroleum products from its suppliers.
Is Exxonmobil entitled to file the claim for the refund of the excise taxes passed-on by Caltex and Petron?
NO. The proper party to seek a refund of an indirect tax is the statutory taxpayer, the person on whom the tax is imposed by law and who paid the same even if he shifts the burden to another. Although the burden of an indirect tax can be shifted to the purchaser, the amount added or shifted becomes part of the price. Thus, the purchaser does not really pay the tax per se but only the price of the commodity. Indirect taxes were defined as those that are demanded, in the first instance, from, or are paid by, one person to someone else. When the seller passes on the tax to the buyer he in effect shifts only the tax burden and not the liability to pay for it.