Customs collections hit record P630.6B
The import duties and other taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in 2019 reached a record P630.6 billion in 2019, but the amount fell short of the agency’s goal due to shrinking imports and a stronger peso.
The BOC’s gross tax take last year reached P638.9 billion, but tax refunds amounted to P8.7 billion, Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip C. Maronilla told a press briefing Friday.
The BOC’s 2019 revenues net of tax refund thus rose 6.3 percent from P593 billion in 2018.
However, actual collections were below the agency’s P661-billion target for 2019.
In 2018, the BOC exceeded its revenue goal of P584 billion.
Maronilla noted that import volumes were down last year. The latest preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data released Friday showed that cumulative imports as of end-November last year declined 4.6 percent to $99.2 billion from $103.9 billion a year ago.
Also, Maronilla pointed to the “very strong” peso last year, which ended 2019 at the 50 level against the dollar, compared to about 52 versus the greenback at end-2018.
A stronger currency slashes the value of imported goods as well as the amount of taxes slapped on these products.
Maronilla also noted that the fuel marking program was “supposed to be implemented last year but because of unforeseen events, the implementation was delayed to February this year.”
The projected P10 billion in additional revenues from fuel marking was already included in the BOC’s 2019 collection program, Maronilla said.
“But looking at the overall performance of the bureau and how the macroeconomic assumptions actually played out at the end of the year, I think we did well in the aspect of collection performance,” Maronilla said.
For his part, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero noted that the BOC’s yearly collection targets were being raised by up to P100 billion a year.
For 2020, the country’s second-biggest revenue agency had been tasked to collect P731 billion, net of P20 billion in projected tax refunds.
“We were expecting that our collection target will further increase because of the requirements for government projects to be funded by tax collections,” Guerrero said.
Last year, the BOC also gained additional revenues from its alert order clearing house desk (P40.9 million), public auctions (P527.9 million) and post-clearance audit (P2.1 billion).
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