MANILA, Philippines—Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, criticized for failing to stop corruption in the agency, said the Bureau of Customs was willing to cede a key audit function to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The proposal to transfer the BOC’s Post-Entry Audit Group (PEAG) to the BIR came from their mother agency, the Department of Finance, which believes the latter bureau could do a better job of detecting discrepancies between duty payments made by importers and their actual liabilities.
The PEAG conducts audits to determine the accuracy of the import taxes and duties paid by importers.
Biazon said the DOF proposal was welcome, agreeing that the BIR could do a better job of auditing import payments given that it had highly trained personnel in the areas of audit and taxation.
“This will definitely be a big help to the BOC as the BIR does not only have more trained people in audit and taxation, it also has more stringent audit procedures,” Biazon said in a statement.
“The BIR would be the best agency to determine the legitimacy of companies as it has extensive records and more comprehensive procedures to verify their existence. The DOF proposal is therefore a welcome move which we hope to seriously explore and discuss,” he said.
Nevertheless, Biazon said that before the audit function could be transferred to the BIR, there were several matters that must be addressed.
One is the need for BIR people to gain knowledge on the proper valuation and classification of imported goods to determine the right taxes and duties that importers must pay. Another is the need for the BIR to learn international customs rules.
“These are customs functions that will have to be addressed before the PEAG could be transferred to the BIR. And this compliance involves the proper valuation and classification of importations in accordance with the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines and World Customs Organizations practices,” Biazon said.