By Jun Ramirez
The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has exonerated a businesswoman from a criminal offense of tax evasion due to mental illness but nevertheless ordered to pay the Bureau of Internal Revenue more than P18 million for non-filing of income tax return (ITR) in 2010.
In a 27-page resolution, the court’s Second Division stated that Teresa Sison, sole proprietor of T.S. Commercial of Calasiao City, Pangasinan was not guilty of deliberate or willful non-filing of ITR as she was suffering from schizophrenia.
Her doctor testified during the trial that Ms. Sison had been depressed since her business was destroyed by a typhoon in 2009, forgetting to comply with her financial obligation to the government.
Prosecutors did not question the hospital and medical records, thus the court gave credence to the claim of the defendant.
However, the court said the extinguishing of the criminal offense did not erase the civil liability.
The decision penned by Associate Justice Cielito Mindaro-Grulla stated that “the civil liability did not arise from the crime of tax evasion which the accused was acquitted.”
“The court can acquit the accused on reasonable doubt, but still order the payment of civil damages in the same case,” she added.(