Ronald Bernas is a partner and head of Quisumbing Torres’ Tax Practice Group. He is a member of the Financial Institutions and Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Groups in Manila. He has 21 years of experience advising clients on various tax issues, including general tax planning, tax controversies, tax litigation, and customs issues and procedures.
Ronald's practice focuses on general tax planning, protests of assessments, claims for refund and tax credits, and taxation of commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and business reorganizations. His practice also covers trade and customs matters. He has represented and assisted clients in the power/energy/renewable energy, oil and gas, food and beverage, healthcare, and manufacturing industries on various tax issues including internal revenue deficiency tax assessments, and various claims for refund before the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Court of Tax Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
Representative Legal Matters
- Advise a Malaysian low-cost airline on tax and customs issues, particularly on alleged unpaid duties and taxes (including penalties and interest) amounting to PhP 360 million on the client's importation of equipment and spare parts. Assist in filing a Petition for Review with the Court of Tax Appeals to protest the assessment including a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction. Successfully obtained from the Court of Tax Appeals a preliminary injunction that allowed client to continue with its importations and its operations.
- Advise a Japanese manufacturer of slot machines and other gaming products on the tax aspect of the restructuring of its operations in the Philippines, which falls under a highly-regulated industry.
- Represent a global management consulting firm in its claim for refund of excess and unutilized creditable withholding taxes from taxable years 2007 to 2018.
- Advise a multinational chemicals company on the tax implications on its Philippine entities of its global reorganization in preparation for a spin-off of some of its business lines into a separate public company group.
- Advise a wholly owned subsidiary of a financial services company on a number of tax issues involving their shared services center in the Philippines.
- Assist one of the largest product and service providers to the mining industry worldwide on various tax matters in relation to its completed divestment of an interest in a manufacturing plant in the Philippines.
- Advise Changi Airports International Pte. Ltd. on the tax aspects of its participation in the consortium that was awarded the concession agreement for the operations and maintenance of the Clark International Airport. Advise on the tax aspects in respect of client's participation in the consortium bidding for the rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 Airport.
- Advise a China-based corporation that operates in diverse sectors, including real estate, on tax matters in connection with the proposed mixed-use development in Bonifacio Global City, to be built on land leased from a government-owned and controlled corporation.
- Tax Controversy Leader, International Tax Review, 2014-2019
- Indirect Tax Leader, International Tax Review, 2017-2019
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines - Member
- International Bar Association - Member
- Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines - Member
- Philippines (1999)
- Ateneo de Manila University (JD) (1998)
- De La Salle University (BS Commerce Major in Legal Management) (1993)
- Co-author, "Extension of deadline to avail of tax amnesty on delinquencies," Quisumbing Torres Client Alert, June 2020
- Co-author, "Filing of Returns and Payment of Taxes until 14 June 2020", Quisumbing Torres Client Alert, June 2020
- Co-author, "Extension of Leniency in Filing of Returns and Manner of Payment of Taxes"", Quisumbing Torres Client Alert, May 2020
- Co-author, "No Further Extension of Statutory Deadlines and Timelines for the Filing and Submission of Documents and Payment of Taxes", Quisumbing Torres Client Alert, May 2020
- Co-author, "BIR Guidelines on Temporary Measures in relation to the Issuance of Receipts and Invoices during ECQ", Quisumbing Torres Client Alert, May 2020
Quisumbing Torres is a member of Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein.