Gov’t loses P30 billion a year to cigarette smuggling
MANILA, Philippines — The government is losing P30 billion annually due to cigarette smuggling in the country, according to Rep. Joey Salceda, the House tax committee chief.
During the hearing of the House committee on ways and means on Monday, Salceda urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Philippine Economic Zone Authority to crack down on the illicit trade in tobacco products.
“I want a crackdown on the illicit cigarette trade. We are losing P30 billion annually due to this, from the laxity of enforcement,” Salceda said, adding that the BOC should conduct a program similar to the Run Against Tax Evaders or RATE of the BIR.
The lawmaker invoked congressional oversight powers to have the BIR reverse Revenue Regulation No. 9-2015, which exempted cigarette manufacturers from tax stamps for export and instead required them to have unique identification codes.
Given that it relies on self-declaration and regulation, he said the system was highly prone to abuse. Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay assured Salceda that he would reverse the policy.
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