LUCAS ADAMSON vs. COURT OF APPEALS- Deficiency Tax Assessment
A deficiency tax assessment was issued against Petitioners relating to their payment of capital gains tax and VAT on their sale of shares of stock and parcels of land. Subsequent to the preliminary conference, the CIR filed with the Department of Justice her Affidavit of Complaint against Petitioners. The Court of Appeals ultimately ruled that, in a criminal prosecution for tax evasion, assessment of tax deficiency is not required because the offense of tax evasion is complete or consummated when the offender has knowingly and willfully filed a fraudulent return with intent to evade the tax.
(1) Dis the CIR issue an assessment?
(2) Must a criminal prosecution for tax evasion be preceded by a deficiency tax assessment?
(3) Does the CTA have jurisdiction on the case?
(1) NO. The recommendation letter of the Commissioner cannot be considered a formal assessment as (a) it was not addressed to the taxpayers; (b) there was no demand made on the taxpayers to pay the tax liability, nor a period for payment set therein; (c) the letter was never mailed or sent to the taxpayers by the Commissioner. It was only an affidavit of the computation of the alleged liabilities and thus merely served as prima facie basis for filing criminal informations.
(2) YES. When fraudulent tax returns are involved as in the cases at bar, a proceeding in court after the collection of such tax may be begun without assessment considering that upon investigation of the examiners of the BIR, there was a preliminary finding of gross discrepancy in the computation of the capital gains taxes due from the transactions. The Tax Code is clear that the remedies may proceed simultaneously.
(3) NO. While the laws governing the CTA have expanded the jurisdiction of the Court, they did not change the jurisdiction of the CTA to entertain an appeal only from a final decision of the Commissioner, or in cases of inaction within the prescribed period. Since in the cases at bar, the Commissioner has not issued an assessment of the tax liability of the Petitioners, the CTA has no jurisdiction.