Intensified campaign vs smuggling, tax evasion jacked up BIR, BOC collections in 2018
The country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies further intensified their respective campaigns against smuggling and tax evasion to shore up revenues last year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
In a statement, the DOF said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in 2018 confiscated 5,227 master cases of fake cigarettes as well as packs affixed with fake tax stamps.
These illegal cigarettes did not pay the correct excise taxes to the government.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had ordered the BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to coordinate with their Chinese counterparts after machines churning out counterfeit cigarettes locally were traced to have been smuggled from China.
As the BIR and the BOC intensified their crackdown on cigarettes affixed with fake stamps, “erring traders have apparently switched to manufacturing their own counterfeit cigarettes in lieu of smuggling legitimate products,” the DOF said.
Dominguez and BIR officials earlier attributed the proliferation of fake cigarettes to the higher excise taxes slapped on the “sin” product, which also jacked up retail prices.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, the unitary cigarette excise tax further rose to P35 per pack since July.
In the meantime, the BOC as of mid-December last year confiscated almost P9.3 billion in smuggled products alongside the filing of 68 cases against alleged smugglers before the Department of Justice (DOJ), the DOF said.
“The BOC has also either revoked, suspended or canceled the customs accreditation of 126 importers and 15 customs brokers as part of the bureau’s intensified campaign against smuggling in 2018. The BOC was also able to foil several attempts to smuggle rice, sugar and other goods into the country,” it added.
According to the DOF, among the big-ticket smuggled items that the BOC intercepted last year included food and agricultural products, luxury vehicles, steel, as well as illegal drugs.
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