Customs’ 2014 tax take falls short of target
MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Customs’ collections of duties and taxes increased by more than 20 percent to P369.3 billion in 2014, even as the full-year take was almost 10 percent below the goal.
In December, the BOC’s collections jumped by 60.3 percent year-on-year to P38.1 billion. It was the only month in 2014 when the BOC exceeded its monthly target, as actual take was 19.3 percent higher than the goal of P32 billion.
The bureau’s total tax take is classified into cash collections and tax expenditures, which represent the supposed duties on government importation.
Cash collections in December reached P27.1 billion, up by 14 percent year-on-year but 10.4-percent below the P30.3-billion target. This was despite the 38-percent decline in crude prices and 23-percent drop in the value of imported petroleum due mainly to the downward trend in global oil prices.
The tax expenditure fund, the BOC said, soared to P11 billion in December 2014 from only P2 million in the same month in 2013. This came mainly from the National Food Authority’s rice importation. The amount also exceeded the P1.714-billion goal.
For the entire 2014, collections were up 21.1 percent year-on-year but 9.5 percent down from the goal of P408.1 billion.
Only the ports of Aparri, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Subic surpassed their respective full-year targets last year.
For 2015, the BOC is tasked to collect a total of P456.5 billion, of which the bulk or P446.5 should be cash collections.
Customs Commissioner John Phillip P. Sevilla conceded as early as December last year that hitting the 2014 goal was “impractical and unrealistic” due to the softening of oil prices.
The BOC chief had said that the agency was expected to lose P40 billion in collections in 2014 as oil prices had been halved to about $50 per barrel.
Taxes and duties from oil products contribute more than 20 percent of the BOC’s annual collections as the country imports and consumes an average of 120 million barrels of oil a year.
Sevilla had also said that collections last January were likely “lower” year-on-year, not only because of the low oil prices but also due to the three-day holiday during Pope Francis’ visit, during which port operations in Manila were shut down.
Department of Budget and Management data showed that of the BOC’s 2015 collections goal, the bulk or P347.4 billion should come from the 12-percent value added tax or VAT slapped on imported goods. Import duties and taxes, meanwhile, should contribute P75.8 billion, while other collections, mainly from excise taxes, should amount P33.3 billion.
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