BIR steps up campaign against tax evasion
The taxman has stepped up its campaign against tax evasion with 84 cases filed in the Department of Justice during the first half, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.
In a statement, the DOF said these complaints that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) lodged against alleged tax evaders involved a total of P3.15 billion in unpaid taxes
Citing a recent report of Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF said the BIR also aimed to collect about P1.54 billion in tax liabilities from 17 cases pending in the Court of Tax Appeals as of June.
The BIR hales into court alleged delinquent taxpayers under its Run After Tax Evaders program.
Also, Guballa told Dominguez that the country’s biggest tax-collection agency temporarily shut down 274 tax-delinquent businesses under its Oplan Kandado program from January to June.
These Oplan Kandado operations generated P1.01 billion in back taxes paid by erring establishments, he said.
The BIR is also ramping up its campaign against illicit cigarette trade. Guballa said the agency recently seized from two warehouses in Pampanga cigarettes affixed with counterfeit tax stamps as well as packs without stamps. These involved unpaid taxes of about P1.56 billion.
The BIR has also confiscated 3,500 e-cigarette pods were being sold in Metro Manila shopping malls for nonpayment of duties and value-added tax (VAT) worth about P1 million.
The confiscated goods bore the brands RELX and SnowPlus being sold by Gizmobile Ventures Inc. and Luxecity Manila Inc., which themselves had not been registered with the agency’s excise large taxpayers regulatory division as dealers or traders of these items.
“If taxes on these will remain unpaid, the products will be destroyed,” warned Jethro Sabariaga, regional director of BIR Manila.
Sabariaga said he expected other BIR offices in Metro Manila to also crack down on e-cigarette sellers and importers who do not pay taxes.
The sale and distribution of heated tobacco and vapor products without duly-issued permits is a violation of BIR regulations that govern the implementation of the recent sin tax laws signed by President Duterte in 2019 and 2020, which further jacked up the excise tax rates on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, as well as alcoholic drinks.
—Ben O. de Vera
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