The Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) issued an assessment against Lascona Land Co., Inc. (Lascona) informing the latter of its alleged deficiency income tax for the year 1993 in the amount of P753,266.56. Consequently, on April 20, 1998, Lascona filed a letter protest, but was denied by Norberto R. Odulio, Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Regional Director, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Revenue Region No. 8, Makati City. On April 12, 1999, Lascona appealed the decision before the CTA. Lascona alleged that the Regional Director erred in ruling that the failure to appeal to the CTA within thirty (30) days from the lapse of the 180-day period rendered the assessment final and executory. The CIR, however, maintained that Lascona’s failure to timely file an appeal with the CTA after the lapse of the 180-day reglementary period provided under Section 228 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) resulted to the finality of the assessment.
Whether the subject assessment has become final, executory and demandable due to the failure of petitioner to file an appeal before the CTA within thirty (30) days from the lapse of the One Hundred Eighty (180)-day period pursuant to Section 228 of the NIRC.
[T]he Court has held that in case the Commissioner failed to act on the disputed assessment within the 180-day period from date of submission of documents, a taxpayer can either: (1) file a petition for review with the Court of Tax Appeals within 30 days after the expiration of the 180-day period; or (2) await the final decision of the Commissioner on the disputed assessments and appeal such final decision to the Court of Tax Appeals within 30 days after receipt of a copy of such decision. These options are mutually exclusive and resort to one bars the application of the other.
Therefore, as in Section 228, when the law provided for the remedy to appeal the inaction of the CIR, it did not intend to limit it to a single remedy of filing of an appeal after the lapse of the 180-day prescribed period. Precisely, when a taxpayer protested an assessment, he naturally expects the CIR to decide either positively or negatively. A taxpayer cannot be prejudiced if he chooses to wait for the final decision of the CIR on the protested assessment. More so, because the law and jurisprudence have always contemplated a scenario where the CIR will decide on the protested assessment.