Alcohol products soon to bear tax stamps | Inquirer Business
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Alcohol products soon to bear tax stamps

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 06:00 AM August 09, 2019

After years of delay, the government will finally start affixing internal revenue stamps on alcohol products to discourage tax cheats once higher excise taxes kick in by next year, according to Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

“It is true that when you raise taxes, the incentive to smuggle or engage in illicit trade is higher. But that’s not an excuse,” Chua told Inquirer business editors and reporters during a roundtable interview Wednesday night.

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Just as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act jacked up oil excise taxes, the same law also mandated fuel marking, he said. The sin tax reform law of 2012 also provided for the implementation of the internal revenue stamps integrated system (Irsis) or cigarette tax stamps.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) so-called “strike team” against illicit trade would also be on alert mode to catch unscrupulous traders amid increases in the prices of cigarettes, heated tobacco and vapor products alongside higher excise starting next year under Republic Act (RA) No. 11346, Chua added.

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Thus, a tax stamp on alcohol products should go hand in hand with the DOF’s next move to increase the excise for alcohol products. The goal was to deter consumption and generate additional revenues to fund the universal health care program.

Citing a BIR report, Chua said the country’s biggest tax-collection agency was already in the middle of the procurement stage for the Irsis on alcohol.

The BIR began last year firming up a contract with state-run printer APO Production Unit Inc. and Irsis Corp. to churn out alcohol tax stamps.

BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay had said APO would be printing the tax stamps while Irsis Corp. would provide the stamps’ security features.

Dulay’s predecessor, former BIR chief Kim S. Jacinto-Henares, had wanted to introduce Irsis on alcoholic drinks during the Aquino administration.

The BIR under the Duterte government had pushed back the rollout of Irsis on alcohol and distilled spirits several times due to issues on costing and manufacturers’ concerns on possible disruption in their production.

Still smarting over the experience with Mighty Corp., which supposedly faked cigarette stamps to evade tax payments, the government wanted to ensure that the version for alcohol products cannot be counterfeited.

Both the alcohol and new tobacco tax stamps would have new designs and enhanced security features, Dulay earlier said.

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TAGS: alcohol, APO Production Unit Inc., Irsis Corp., Karl Kendrick T. Chua
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