Fake tax stamp printing facility raided
Agents of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shut down a printing facility in Malabon City that was churning out fake cigarette labels and tax stamps, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Wednesday (July 3).
Dominguez told reporters that had the “high-tech” factory not been raided by the BIR and the NBI, it would have continued producing P245-million worth of fake internal revenue stamps and deprived the government of the same amount of taxes every year.
Citing a report from the factory’s machine operator, Dominguez said the facility had the capacity to churn out 3,500 pieces of fake tax stamps per hour.
“At P35 per stamp, that’s P122,500 in lost revenue per hour. If the machine operates eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, it can produce P245 million per year of fake tax stamps,” Dominguez said.
Last month, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) led the confiscation of machines that had been used to print fake cigarette labels and packaging in Valenzuela City, while arresting a Filipino and five Chinese who were involved in the illegal production.
Also in June, the BOC seized fake cigarettes and cigarette-making machines, among other smuggled items worth over P160 million in Bulacan.
The BOC also confiscated P25-million worth of smuggled cigarettes at the Port of Zamboanga last month.
The BIR and the BOC—the country’s two biggest revenue agencies—have been bracing for an expected rise in illicit cigarette trade once the measure jacking up cigarette excise is signed into law.
Dominguez had expressed confidence that the BOC and the BIR’s so-called “Strike Team” against illicit cigarette trade would be “able to handle” any surge in cigarette smuggling and production of fake cigarettes and internal revenue stamps.
“We want to make the risk of failure higher” for unscrupulous traders taking advantage of higher cigarette prices as a result of excise increases, Dominguez had said. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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