Gov’t toughens stance on fake tax stamps
If found guilty of using fake tax stamps, cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. must pay up, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
Asked what the Department of Finance was planning to do following reports of massive confiscation of Mighty products bearing counterfeit tax stamps, Dominguez said “we have to look at the findings of the Bureau of Internal Revenue first, and we want them to pay.”
“Or else, we will confiscate all their cigarettes because they’re illegal,” Dominguez added.
He nonetheless said Mighty was not being singled out in the BIR’s investigation of the proliferation of fake tax stamps.
“So far, we’ve caught only one company but we are still looking for others that have violated the stamp tax law,” Dominguez said.
As for a possible tax evasion case against those found using counterfeit tax stamps, Dominguez said the BIR was still preparing and putting together documents to strengthen the case.
On Friday, the BIR met with cigarette manufacturers and importers to come up with solutions to the problem of fake tax stamps.
“The issue of fake stamps is an issue not only of the BIR but also of industry players and the printing office. It’s a concern of the whole country,” Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said.
Last Wednesday, joint teams of the Bureau of Customs and the BIR confiscated Mighty cigarette packs bearing fake tax stamps in General Santos City and Pampanga.
On Thursday, BOC officials said they were also looking into the possibility that the products might have been manufactured by Bulacan-based Mighty using smuggled raw materials.
The BOC and BIR seized 11,000 master cases of Mighty cigarettes worth P215 million in General Santos City, on top of 62,000 master cases worth P1.957 billion in San Simon, Pampanga.
In all, the 73,244 master cases contained 36.622 million packs, which at an excise tax of P30 a pack will result in foregone revenue of P1.098 billion for the government.
In February, the BIR seized products of Mighty bearing fake cigarette tax stamps during inspection at a Cebu mall.
A report furnished to Dulay showed that the BIR conducted inventory-taking at Metro Mandaue mall in Mandaue City on Feb. 7-8, pursuant to a Feb. 3 mission order issued to check the alleged proliferation of fake stamps in Cebu City earlier discovered by Irsis Corp.
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