BIR warns public against tax clearance scam
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has warned the public against a scam wherein fake tax clearance certificates were being used to extort money from those expecting shipments from overseas.
In a May 6 advisory, Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said the country’s biggest tax-collection agency found out that there was a “proliferation” of these counterfeit tax clearances, which unscrupulous individuals use to fool unsuspecting importers and other recipients of parcels coming from outside the country.
“The modus operandi starts upon receipt of an e-mail by prospective victims informing them that their parcel has already reached the Philippine transit port and that the same is on hold awaiting for the payment of some airport taxes. Per e-mail, payment should be made only to the said courier who undertakes to deliver the parcel to the victim’s doorstep within the day,” Dulay said.
However, “after the victim has paid the required amount of the alleged airport taxes, the latter will again receive an e-mail accusing him of money laundering and that the alleged ‘surveillance department’ of the BIR has placed on hold their consignment pending payment of a certain amount representing 12 percent of the Philippines’ official tax ratio of the total fund detected by the alleged ‘Ultra-sensitive Scan report,’” the BIR chief added.
Another e-mail will be sent to the victim, containing a fake BIR tax clearance that demands payment of a certain amount, according to Dulay.
These series of e-mails constitute a scam, as Dulay pointed out that the BIR “does not issue tax clearance requiring taxpayers to pay 12 percent of the Philippines’ official tax ratio of the total fund detected by the alleged ‘Ultra-sensitive Scan report.’”
To check the authenticity of tax clearances, Dulay said taxpayers must visit the BIR’s website: www.bir.gov.ph/index.ph/tax-clearance/released-tax-clearance.html.
“Any tax clearance not listed/posted in the BIR website are deemed to have originated from an illegal source,” the BIR chief said.
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