Alcohol tax stamp scheme starts in Jan
After years of delay, the government will finally pilot the tax stamps scheme on alcohol products and distilled spirits by January next year to ensure correct payment of excise taxes.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko told reporters last week that they were firming up the upcoming implementation of alcohol tax stamps, with the terms of reference and memorandum of agreement between the government and state-run printer APO Production Unit Inc. targeted for signing in the third week of November.
In January, she said the Bureau of Internal Revenue would start to affix tax stamps on alcohol. The scheme is expected to be fully implemented by June next year.
“We have to give the manufacturers time to adjust,” Tionko said.
Manufacturers will be given sufficient time to reengineer their products to match the design of the stamp, she added.
According to Tionko, it would be more difficult to implement the Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System (Irsis) for distilled spirits and wines, compared to cigarettes.
“There are many issues, such as on which part of the bottle will the stamp be affixed,” she noted.
Also, unlike cigarettes that are now slapped a unitary rate, different rates are charged on different types of alcohol, she said, adding that tax rates were also based on the alcohol content of the product.
Tionko said industry players were consulted about the stamp design, its size, the point of payment for the excise tax, as well as possible exemptions from the tax stamp.
In January, the BIR said that one of its priority programs for 2017 was the implementation of Irsis for alcohol products as well as distilled spirits.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay had said that the implementation of Irsis for alcohol and distilled spirits would “ensure the collection of correct excise taxes on distilled spirits and wines as well as curb illicit trade of alcohol products in the country.”
Dulay’s predecessor, Kim Jacinto-Henares, had planned to introduce Irsis on alcoholic drinks before her term ended in mid-2016.
In the case of cigarette tax stamps, which had been counterfeited by unscrupulous firms, the BIR will release a new stamp with a different design also in January to replace the compromised design.
The BIR’s previous target was to introduce the new cigarette tax stamp last October, but the government decided to push back the rollout of stamps with better security features as well as a new design.
Last month, BIR Assistant Commissioner Teresita M. Angeles said they were “still going through the testing of the new stamps and, also, allowing the manufacturers to test the papers of the stamps.”
Angeles said the new tax stamp would feature the Philippine tarsier, one of the smallest known primates endemic to the country.
The existing design bears the “butanding” or whale shark.
Since the new stamp will have enhanced security features, it will cost 15 centavos a piece or two centavos more than the cost of the current stamp, which cigarette manufacturers would shoulder.
Irsis on tobacco products is being implemented since late 2014 to ensure collection of correct excise taxes.
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