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COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. HON. VICTORINO SAVELLANO and ASUNCION BARON VDA. DE MANIAGO, et al.

, as heirs of the late Juan G. Maniago, respondents. G.R. No. L-36181 Facts: On May 22, 1967, the late Juan G. Maniago (substituted in these proceedings by his wife and children) submitted to petitioner Commissioner of Internal Revenue confidential denunciation against the Meralco Securities Corporation for tax evasion for having paid income tax only on 25 % of the dividends it received from the Manila Electric Co. for the years 1962-1966, thereby allegedly shortchanging the government of income tax due from 75% of the said dividends. Petitioner Commissioner of Internal Revenue caused the investigation of the denunciation after which he found and held that no deficiency corporate income tax was due from the Meralco Securities Corporation on the dividends it received from the Manila Electric Co. and accordingly denied Maniago's claim for informer's reward on a non-existent deficiency. On August 28, 1970, Maniago filed a petition for mandamus, and subsequently an amended petition for mandamus, in the Court of First Instance of Manila, docketed therein as Civil Case No. 80830, against the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Meralco Securities Corporation to compel the Commissioner to impose the alleged deficiency tax assessment on the Meralco Securities Corporation and to award to him the corresponding informer's reward under the provisions of R.A. 2338. Respondent judge granted the said petition and thereafter, denied the motions for reconsideration filed by all the parties. Issues: 1. Whether or not respondent judge has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case. 2. Whether or not respondent heirs of Maniago are entitled to informers reward. Held: 1. Respondent judge has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case because the subject matter thereof clearly falls within the scope of cases now exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals. Section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125, enacted June 16, 1954, granted to the Court of Tax Appeals exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, among others, decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters

arising under the National Internal Revenue Code or other law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The law transferred to the Court of Tax Appeals jurisdiction over all cases involving said assessments previously cognizable by courts of first instance, and even those already pending in said courts. The question of whether or not to impose a deficiency tax assessment on Meralco Securities Corporation undoubtedly comes within the purview of the words "disputed assessments" or of "other matters arising under the National Internal Revenue Code . . . . In the case of Blaquera vs. Rodriguez, et al, this Court ruled that "the determination of the correctness or incorrectness of a tax assessment to which the taxpayer is not agreeable, falls within the jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals and not of the Court of First Instance, for under the provisions of Section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125, the Court of Tax Appeals hasexclusive appellate jurisdiction to review, on appeal, any decision of the Collector of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments and other matters arising under the National Internal Revenue Code or other law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue." 2. Considering then that respondent judge may not order by mandamus the Commissioner to issue the assessment against Meralco Securities Corporation when no such assessment has been found to be due, no deficiency taxes may therefore be assessed and collected against the said corporation. Since no taxes are to be collected, no informer's reward is due to private respondents as the informer's heirs. Informer's reward is contingent upon the payment and collection of unpaid or deficiency taxes. An informer is entitled by way of reward only to a percentage of the taxes actually assessed and collected. Since no assessment, much less any collection, has been made in the instant case, respondent judge's writ for the Commissioner to pay respondents 25% informer's reward is gross error and without factual nor legal basis. WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby granted and the questioned decision of respondent judge dated January 10, 1973 and order dated April 6, 1973 are hereby reversed and set aside. With costs against private respondents.