Customs collection exceeds 6-month target in 2021
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) tax take in the first half of 2021 not only grew year-on-year but also exceeded its target mainly as external trade picked up while global borders further opened up despite lingering risks from COVID-19.
In a statement on Thursday (July 1), the country’s second-biggest revenue agency said import duties and other taxes it collected from January to June reached P302.74 billion, 3.7-percent more than the six-month goal of P291.83 billion. The BOC consistently hit its monthly collection targets during the first six months of 2021.
Compared to 2020, when 75 percent of the economy froze due to the most stringent lockdown imposed at the onset of the pandemic, the BOC’s end-June revenues climbed 19.6 percent from P253.09 billion in 2020.
During the month of June alone, the BOC collected P52.45 billion in taxes, 11.2-percent bigger than its P47.18-billion target. Its June take was also higher than P42.6 billion a year ago.
Last month’s collections included P157.06 million in the tax expenditure fund (TEF) covering government importations, plus P148.73 million from post-clearance audits, the BOC said.
“The collection performance of the BOC and its 17 collection districts, under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, is attributed to the improved valuation of the bureau, its digitized and modernized systems, the gradually improving economy resulting to higher volume of importations, and the intensified collection efforts of all districts,” the bureau said in a statement.
For one, normalizing oil prices amid a global economic rebound had been jacking up tax revenues from imports, with the help of the fuel marking program. The Philippines was a net oil importer.
In May, the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) projected goods imports to rise 12 percent in 2021 on expectations of domestic demand recovery. President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers expected the economy to grow by 6 to 7 percent in 2021 after 2020’s pandemic-induced recession, the worst post-war.
The latest government data showed that merchandise imports jumped 21.9 percent year-on-year to $34.46 billion as of end-April. The Philippines imported more products than it sold locally-made goods abroad.
The BOC had been tasked with collecting P616.7 billion by end-2021, a goal which Guerrero earlier told the Inquirer was “attainable.”