The Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company appointed private respondent Algue as its agent, authorizing it to sell its land, factories and oil manufacturing process.
Pursuant to such authority, Alberto Guevara, Jr., Eduardo Guevara, Isabel Guevara, Edith, O’Farell, and Pablo Sanchez, worked for the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation, inducing other persons to invest in it.
Ultimately, after its incorporation largely through the promotion of the said persons, this new corporation purchased the PSEDC properties. For this sale, Algue received as agent a commission of P126,000.00, and it was from this commission that the P75,000.00 promotional fees were paid to the aforenamed individuals.
The CIR contends that the claimed deduction of P75,000.00 was properly disallowed because it was not an ordinary reasonable or necessary business expense.
The CIR claims that these payments are fictitious because most of the payees are members of the same family in control of Algue, and suggests a tax dodge, an attempt to evade a legitimate assessment by involving an imaginary deduction.
The CTA agreed with Algue, it held that the said amount had been legitimately paid by the private respondent for actual services rendered, in the form of promotional fees.
Whether or not the Collector of Internal Revenue correctly disallowed the P75,000.00 deduction claimed by private respondent Algue as legitimate business expenses in its income tax returns.
We agree with the respondent court that the amount of the promotional fees was not excessive. The total commission paid by the PSEDC to the private respondent was P125,000.00. After deducting the said fees, Algue still had a balance of P50,000.00 as clear profit from the transaction. The amount of P75,000.00 was 60% of the total commission. This was a reasonable proportion, considering that it was the payees who did practically everything, from the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation to the actual purchase by it of the Sugar Estate properties.
This finding of the respondent court is in accord with the following provision of the Tax Code:
SEC. 30. Deductions from gross income.–In computing net income there shall be allowed as deductions —
(1) In general.–All the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, including a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services actually rendered;
and Revenue Regulations No. 2, Section 70 (1), reading as follows:
SEC. 70. Compensation for personal services.–Among the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred in carrying on any trade or business may be included a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services actually rendered.
The test of deductibility in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable and are, in fact, payments purely for service.
It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilization society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of the motive power to activate and operate it. Hence, despite the natural reluctance to surrender part of one’s hard earned income to the taxing authorities, every person who is able to must contribute his share in the running of the government.
The government for its part, is expected to respond in the form of tangible and intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people and enhance their moral and material values. This symbiotic relationship is the rationale of taxation and should dispel the erroneous notion that it is an arbitrary method of exaction by those in the seat of power.
But even as we concede the inevitability and indispensability of taxation, it is a requirement in all democratic regimes that it be exercised reasonably and in accordance with the prescribed procedure. If it is not, then the taxpayer has a right to complain and the courts will then come to his succor. For all the awesome power of the tax collector, he may still be stopped in his tracks if the taxpayer can demonstrate, as it has here, that the law has not been observed.
We hold that the claimed deduction by the private respondent was permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and should therefore not have been disallowed by the petitioner.