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SC affirms VAT refund of former Casecnan hydropower operator

THE Supreme Court has upheld the partial refund of CE Casecnan Water and Energy Co., Inc. worth P19.22 million representing its excess value-added tax (VAT) traced to zero-rated sales for the taxable year 2008.

In a nine-page decision dated Feb. 1 and made public on Feb. 1, the tribunal agreed with the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) ruling that said the firm proved its entitlement to the said amount through its official receipts during the period.

CE Casecnan initially sought a refund in the amount of P20.06 million.

“It is well settled that factual findings of the CTA when supported by substantial evidence, will not be disturbed on appeal,” the High Court said.

“It is clear in this case that the respondent (CE Casecnan) sufficiently discharged the burden of complying with tax refund procedures, and has duly complied with the requirements under the law.”

The tax court said the internal revenue commissioner’s petition was timely filed within the two years mandated under the country’s revenue code.

It noted that the firm’s sale of generated power to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) qualified for zero-rated VAT.

The petitioner is the company that previously operated and maintained the Casecnan hydroelectric in Nueva Ecija, before its contract with the facility expired on Dec. 11, 2021.

The plant, which is a combined irrigation and power generation project, was turned over to the government after CE Casecnan’s build-operate-transfer contract expired.

The NIA said it would continue taking irrigation water from Casecnan even after it is privatized.

“Unless there has been an abuse of discretion on its part, the Court accords the highest respect to the factual findings of the CTA,” the tribunal said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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