The Petitioner Deutsche Bank filed a claim for refund of taxes paid to the government. The government, through, the CIR, denied the claim of refund arguing that the petitioner filed the claim of refund beyond the time allowed. The SC overturned the decision of the CIR recognizing the treaty between the Philippines and Germany. Accordingly, even though the petitioner was claiming the tax refund beyond the prescriptive period, it should still be granted to the petitioner by virtue of tax treaty
The time-honored international principle of pacta sunt servanda demands the performance in good faith of treaty obligations on the part of the states that enter into the agreement. Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties, and obligations under the treaty must be performed by them in good faith. More importantly, treaties have the force and effect of law in this jurisdiction
In accordance with Section 28(A)(5) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997, petitioner withheld and remitted to respondent on 21 October 2003 the amount of PHP 67,688,553.51, which represented the fifteen percent (15%) branch profit remittance tax (BPRT) on its regular banking unit (RBU) net income remitted to Deutsche Bank Germany (DB Germany) for 2002 and prior taxable years. Believing that it made an overpayment of the BPRT, petitioner filed with the BIR Large Taxpayers Assessment and Investigation Division on 4 October 2005 an administrative claim for refund or issuance of its tax credit certificate in the total amount of PHP 22,562,851.17. On the same date, petitioner requested from the International Tax Affairs Division (ITAD) a confirmation of its entitlement to the preferential tax rate of 10% under the RP-Germany Tax Treaty.
Alleging the inaction of the BIR on its administrative claim, petitioner filed a Petition for Review with the CTA on 18 October 2005. Petitioner reiterated its claim for the refund or issuance of its tax credit certificate for the amount of PHP 22,562,851.17 representing the alleged excess BPRT paid on branch profits remittance to DB Germany.
The claim of petitioner for a refund was denied on the ground that the application for a tax treaty relief was not filed with ITAD prior to the payment by the former of its BPRT and actual remittance of its branch profits to DB Germany, or prior to its availment of the preferential rate of ten percent (10%) under the RP-Germany Tax Treaty provision. The court a quo held that petitioner violated the fifteen (15) day period mandated under Section III paragraph (2) of Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 1-2000.
Whether or not, the petitioner is entitled to the refund despite lapse of period to claim the same.
In ruling in the affirmative, the SC considered the treaty between the Philippines and Germany. By virtue of the RP-Germany Tax Treaty, we are bound to extend to a branch in the Philippines, remitting to its head office in Germany, the benefit of a preferential rate equivalent to 10% BPRT. The BIR issued RMO No. 1-2000, which requires that any availment of the tax treaty relief must be preceded by an application with ITAD at least 15 days before the transaction should be disregarded with regard to the time-honored international principle of pacta sunt servanda, which demands the performance in good faith of treaty obligations on the part of the states that enter into the agreement. Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties, and obligations under the treaty must be performed by them in good faith. More importantly, treaties have the force and effect of law in this jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc Decision dated 29 May 2009 and Resolution dated 1 July 2009 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new one has hereby entered ordering respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue to refund or issue a tax credit certificate in favor of petitioner Deutsche Bank AG Manila Branch the amount of TWENTY TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY ONE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (PHP 22,562,851.17), Philippine currency, representing the erroneously paid BPRT for 2002 and prior taxable years.