More companies comply with fuel-marking program
More firms are having their tax-paid oil products marked in line with the government’s plan to fully implement fuel marking by February next year in a bid to eliminate oil smuggling, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.
The BOC said fuel marking started this week in Insular Oil Corp. and Pure Petroleum Corp.’s facilities at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
In the case of Pure Petroleum, more than eight million liters of gasoline imported from China were marked as their import duties and other taxes were already settled, the BOC said.
Since it started on Aug. 2 the fuel-marking program by injecting molecular markers on oil products that paid the correct excise and import duties, the government had six months to test all petroleum products in the local market, including stocks stored in depots, tanks and terminals, the BOC earlier said.
The washout period will end in January next year such that on Feb. 3, 2020, “all gasoline, diesel and kerosene are expected to be marked completely,” the BOC said.
“Simultaneously, BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) personnel shall commence field testing activities and impose penalties, as necessary, for oil companies proven to have unmarked, adulterated and/or diluted fuel” by February next year, according to the BOC.
Customs Deputy Commissioner Teddy Sandy S. Raval, for his part, advised retailers to only buy and sell marked fuel to avoid violation and possible penalties, including criminal prosecution, as gasoline, diesel and kerosene found to be unmarked would be seized and penalties would be imposed against those storing, transporting, importing or peddling unmarked fuel, including closure of their facilities.
In August, the BOC issued its own guidelines on fuel marking under Customs Memorandum Order No. 43-2019, which covered oil imports.
The BIR also issued last month Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 104-2019, which mandated all of its revenue district offices to submit a list of all retail gasoline stations within their areas of jurisdiction to the excise large taxpayers field operations division of the country’s biggest tax-collection agency.
According to the BOC, 71.4 million liters of fuel had already been marked at Seaoil Philippines Inc.’s bulk terminal in Mabini, Batangas.
In October, marking started for 53 million liters of gasoline at the terminal of Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc. in Mariveles, Bataan.
The following oil firms were set to follow suit: Chevron Philippines Inc., Filoil, Petron Corp., Phoenix Petroleum Corp. and SL Gas, according to the BOC.
“The implementation of the fuel-marking program is a milestone for the BOC as well as the BIR and the Department of Finance (DOF) as we have painstakingly worked together to ensure the success of the program. With the cooperation and support of partner agencies and stakeholders, we are ready to implement the fuel marking program and make it work,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said.
The government had projected to collect through the fuel marking program in 2020 a “conservative” P20 billion in additional taxes, which the DOF earlier estimated was half of the foregone revenues to oil smuggling each year.
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