Waiver of tax prescription NOT mere formality

In the landmark case of Philippine Journalists, Inc. v. CIR (PJI case), the Supreme Court held that a waiver is not automatically a renunciation of the right to invoke the defense of prescription. A waiver of the Statute of Limitations is nothing more than “an agreement between the taxpayer and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that the period to issue an assessment and collect the taxes due is extended to a date certain.”It is a bilateral agreement, thus necessitating the very signatures of both the CIR and the taxpayer to give birth to a valid agreement. Furthermore, indicating in the waiver the date of acceptance by the BIR is necessary in order to determine whether the parties (the taxpayer and the government) had entered into a waiver “before the expiration of the time prescribed in Section 203 (the three-year prescriptive period) for the assessment of the tax.” When the period of prescription has expired, there will be no more need to execute a waiver as there will be nothing more to extend. Hence, no implied consent can be presumed, nor can it be contended that the concurrence to such waiver is a mere formality. (488 Phil. 219, 231-232, 2004)

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