On 30 April 2004, the BIR issued a Preliminary Assessment Notice (PAN) to petitioner for deficiency Documentary Stamp Tax (DST) and Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) for taxable year 2001. Petitioner received the PAN on 18 May 2004 and filed a protest against it on 27 May 2004.
In response thereto, the BIR on 16 July 2004 issued a Formal Letter of Demand with Assessment Notices, which partly reads:
It is requested that the above deficiency tax be paid immediately upon receipt hereof, inclusive of penalties incident to delinquency. This is our final decision based on investigation. If you disagree, you may appeal the final decision within thirty days from receipt hereof, otherwise said deficiency tax assessment shall become final, executory and demandable.
Instead of protesting the final assessment notices, petitioner filed a Petition for Review with the CTA which dismissed the same for lack of jurisdiction.
Whether or not petitioner violated the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies.
NO. It appears from the demand letter that the CIR has already made a final decision on the matter and that the remedy of petitioner is to appeal the final decision within 30 days.
Records show that petitioner disputed the PAN but not the Formal Letter of Demand with Assessment Notices. Nevertheless, we cannot blame petitioner for not filing a protest against the Formal Letter of Demand with Assessment Notices since the language used and the tenor or the demand letter indicate that it is the final decision of the respondent on the matter. Respondent is now estopped from claiming that he did not intend the Formal Letter of Demand with Assessment Notices to be a final decision.