MANILA – The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has granted a pawnshop chain owner’s petition for review questioning his multiple tax assessments and prohibited the collection of his alleged deficiencies.

The CTA Third Division granted the petition of businessman William Villarica on Oct. 21 and said it finds that the assessments issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) “have no factual and legal foundation”.

The 31-page decision written by Associate Justice Maria Rowena Modesto-San Pedro added the case was “merely based on presumption that the said unaccounted source of cash is tantamount to receipts/sales and income”.

Villarica asked the CTA to cancel the final decision on disputed assessment dated April 4, 2016 for the years 1998, 2000-2001, and 2006-2009. amounting to PHP112,105,286.68.

The BIR investigation arose from an anonymous letter received on May 8, 2007 from an alleged concerned citizen who claimed Villarica owns a number of businesses and vehicles but has not been paying the correct taxes.

VIllarica said he had ceased business operations since 2001 due to property relations dispute with his former wife.

From 2001 to 2009, he said he had no realized income and was living off his savings.

He also denied signing any deeds of sale pertaining to the purchase or sale of two luxury vehicles.

VIllarica said the assessments “are bereft of any basis” and contended that the issuances “only contain baseless and general assertions without citing any specific provision of law that he supposedly violated”, contrary to the requirements under revenue regulations.

In ruling against the BIR, the CTA said the assessments were based on alleged purchases of luxury vehicles, and investments but “none of these transactions represent a sale, exchange, or gross receipts which can be subject to VAT (value-added tax). Neither was there any showing of income derived from these alleged purchases which can be subject to income tax”. (PNA)