Press Release
Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB)

March 3, 2008

Senate approves bill seeking to expand tax appeals court

The Senate passed on third reading today a bill seeking to expand the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to three divisions in order to add more teeth to the government's revenue collection efforts through the speedy litigation of tax cases.

Senate President Manuel Villar said the passage of Senate Bill 2009 indicated that the Upper Chamber was promptly attending to its legislative functions aside from conducting investigations on allegation of corruption in government such as the National Boardband Network contract scandal.

"This bill seeking to expand the Court of Tax Appeals and increasing the number of justices that would handle tax appeal cases would certainly go a long way in improving the legal infrastructure to support the government's efforts to collect taxes," Villar said. "It would hasten the disposal of tax cases and hopefully send more habitual tax cheats to jail."

"With the faster resolution of tax cases, we can expect the Bureau of Internal Revenue to conduct a vigorous campaign against big-time tax evaders," Villar, who is also Nacionalista Party (NP) president, said.

The bill, which was recommended for approval by the Senate Committees on Ways and Means, Justice, Human Rights and Finance earlier this week, was principally sponsored by Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and co-authored by Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla III.

A counterpart measure, House Bill 1890, authored by Antique Rep. Exequiel B. Javier, was approved in the House of Representatives last Febuary 19. It was approved last week by the House committees on Justice and on Appropriations.

According to the committee report, Senate Bill 2009 seeks to amend certain sections of Republic Act (RA) 9282 that was enacted by the 12th Congress in April 2004. Currently, the law provides that only two divisions and six CTA members will compose the Tax Appeals court.

Villar said the expansion of the Court of Tax Appeals to three divisions was necessitated by the increase in the number of tax appeals cases.

Aside from adding a third CTA division, the bill seeks to increase CTA members to nine from its current complement of six. The measure will likewise ensure the independence of the CTA affording a fair and just disposition of each and every case before it, specifically in the obviation of the possibility of a tie or deadlock in the resolution of an issue.

The bill also provides that a budget of P20 million will be given to the CTA, via special supplemental budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management, to carry out the expanded operations.

A similar measure, endorsed by the Supreme Court, also approved by House of Representatives on second reading in the last Congress but failed to make it to third and final reading due to time constraints.

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