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Willy Ocier’s CTA jackpot: City of Dreams operator wins P115M tax refund

Premium Leisure and Amusement Inc. led by bilyonaryo Willy Ocier scored a bonanza from the Court of Tax of Appeals.

The operator of City of Dreams casino won its case to get back P115.197 million in taxes it paid erroneously in 2015 to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

In the September 2, 2020 decision, the CTA First Division ruled that just like in the Supreme Case of Bloomberry Resorts, which operates the Solaire casino, all private casinos are exempted from paying corporate income tax after payment of the five percent franchise tax to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

“(Premium Leisure’s) payment of income tax for 2015 was erroneously paid in 2016 because its payment of the license fees to Pagcor was already inclusive of the five percent franchise tax which should be in lieu of any and all taxes i.e., five percent of its total gross incomes of P756,237,939.00. Respondent (BIR) raised no objection whatsoever against this allegation,” said CTA.

“Respondent’s argument that the Bloomberry Resorts case is binding only between the parties thereto is not correct as the case law emanating therein also extends to those similarly situated. It must be
emphasized that Bloomberry Resorts and the herein petitioner are both Pagcor’s contractees and licensees. Hence, the Supreme Court decision likewise applies to herein petitioner,” it added.

The CTA also noted that Premiere Leisure, which obtained its casino license from Pagcor in April 2015, sought the refund well within the two year prescribed period – it filed its income tax return in April 2016 and sought the refund and filed the case before April 2018.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Catherine Manahan and concurred by Presiding Justice Roman Del Rosario.

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