Taxation as a legislative function

Taxes are levied through laws. In other words, although taxation is an inherent power, the exercise thereof must be via legislation.

The power of taxation is both inherent and legislative in character because it has been reserved by the State for it to exercise. It is inherent because the sustenance of government requires contribution from them. The power of taxation is legislative in character because only the legislature can make tax laws.

The power to tax is peculiarly and exclusively legislative and cannot be exercised by the executive or judicial branch of the government (1 Cooley 160-161). Hence, only Congress, our national legislative body, can impose taxes. The levy of a tax, however, may also be made by a local legislative body subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Inherent in the three branches of our government are three core powers granted by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The authority to make laws and to alter or repeal them is conferred on the Legislative Department. The implementation of laws is charged to the Executive Department. The power to interpret laws, to hear and decide cases when disputes arise, lies with the Judiciary. The existence of these independent co-equal bodies is a fundamental characteristic of a democratic government.