Philippine Basketball Association vs. Court of Appeals; G.R. No. 119122. August 8, 2000

FACTS:

On June 21, 1989, the petitioner received an assessment letter from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the payment of deficiency amusement tax amounted to P5,864,260.84.

Petitioner contested the assessment by filing a protest who denied the same by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

On January 8, 1990, petitioner filed a petition for review with the Court of Tax Appeals whom on December 24, 1993, dismissed petitioner’s petition, holding petitioner to pay P5,864,260.84 as deficiency amusement tax for the year 1987 plus 20% annual delinquency interest from July 22, 1989 pursuant to the provision of Sec.248 & 249

Petitioner presented a motion for reconsideration of the said decision but the same was denied by CTA. Petitioner appealed the CTA decision to the Court of Appeals, however, the CA affirmed CTA’s decision.

Petitioner filed a petition to the SC contending that the power and authority to levy and collect amusement taxes from the sale of admission tickets to places of amusement was transferred from the national government to the local government by virtue of the Local Tax Code of 1973.

Section 13 of the Local Tax Code of 1973 provides:

“Sec. 13. Amusement tax on admission.—The province shall impose a tax on admission to be collected from the proprietors, lessees, or operators of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls, circuses and other places of amusement x x x.”

Section 268 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

Amusement taxes.—There shall be collected from the proprietor, lessee or operator of cockpits, cabarets, night or day clubs, boxing exhibitions, professional basketball games, Jai-Alai, race tracks and bowling alleys, a tax equivalent to 5 % of their gross receipts, irrespective of whether or not any amount is charged or paid for admission.

*June 11, 1978, PD 1456 came into effect, increasing the amusement tax to 10%

*In 1984, PD 1959 increased the rate of amusement tax to 15%.

ISSUE:

Whether amusement tax on admission tickets to PBA games a national or local tax?

RULING:

NATIONAL TAX

The laws on the matter are succinct and clear and need no elaborate disquisition. Section 13 of the Local Tax Code indicates that the province can only impose a tax on admission from the proprietors, lessees, or operators of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls, circuses and other places of amusement.

The authority to tax professional basketball games is not therein included, as the same is expressly embraced in PD 1959, which amended PD 1456  provides that that the “proprietor, lessee or operator of x x x professional basketball games” is required to pay an amusement tax equivalent to fifteen per centum (15%) of their gross receipts to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which payment is a national tax. The said payment of amusement tax is in lieu of all other percentage taxes of whatever nature and description.

While Section 13 of the Local Tax Code mentions “other places of amusement,” professional basketball games are definitely not within its scope. Under the principle of ejusdem generis, where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Thus, in determining the meaning of the phrase “other places of amusement,” one must refer to the prior enumeration of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls and circuses with artistic expression as their common characteristic. Professional basketball games do not fall under the same category as theaters, cinematographs, concert halls and circuses as the latter basically belong to artistic forms of entertainment while the former caters to sports and gaming.

DOCTRINE:

Ejusdem generis is latin for “of the same kind.”

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