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G.R. No. L-49336 – 107 SCRA 104 – Political Law – Powers of the State – Power of Taxation – Church’s Exemption From Taxes
The Province of Abra sought to tax the properties of the Roman Catholic Bishop, Inc. of Bangued. Judge Harold Hernando dismissed the petition of Abra without hearing its side. Hernando ruled that there “is no question that the real properties sought to be taxed by the Province of Abra are properties of the respondent Roman Catholic Bishop of Bangued, Inc.” Likewise, “there is no dispute that the properties including their produce are actually, directly and exclusively used by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bangued, Inc. for religious or charitable purposes.”
ISSUE: Whether or not the properties of the church (in this case) is exempt from taxes.
HELD: No, they are not tax exempt. It is true that the Constitution provides that “charitable institutions, mosques, and non-profit cemeteries” are required that for the exemption of “lands, buildings, and improvements,” they should not only be “exclusively” but also “actually” and “directly” used for religious or charitable purposes. The exemption from taxation is not favored and is never presumed, so that if granted it must be strictly construed against the taxpayer. However, in this case, there is no showing that the said properties are actually and directly used for religious or charitable uses.