Appellate court upholds Davao LGU’s fee on San Miguel Foods


THE Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has upheld the Davao City treasurer’s fee on San Miguel Foods, Inc. worth P338,731.90 for permits to slaughter animals for food production.

In a decision on Oct. 12 and made public on Oct. 19, the CTA Special Third Division said the local government code allows cities and municipalities to impose levy taxes, fees, and charges.

“Furthermore, the city is tasked with authorizing the establishment and operations of private slaughterhouses, whether for public use or exclusively as part of meat processing complex,” according to the ruling penned by Maria Belen M. Ringpis-Liban.

The tribunal noted that it is within the mandate of local government units (LGUs) to impose the permit fees to regulate slaughterhouses.

The Davao City revenue code mandates a permit to slaughter an animal from the city veterinarian which would be followed by a corresponding fee collected by the city treasurer’s office.

The petitioner, a subsidiary of a food conglomerate based in Pasig City, argued that the trial court in Davao City made an error when it ruled that there was no double taxation in the imposition of fees.

The court disagreed saying the fees did not count as local taxes.

“The fees imposed thereon [are] primarily regulatory in nature and not primarily revenue-raising,” said the CTA. “While the fees may contribute to the revenues of Davao City, this effect is merely incidental.”

It added that the permit fee to slaughter is meant to ensure the humane treatment in the killing of animals. The fees also serve as inspection charges to ensure that the slaughtered animals are safe for human consumption. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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