BIR mulls CCTV cameras for cigar firms to monitor fake tax stamps
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would release new cigarette tax stamps and install closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring system at cigarette manufacturing firms to prevent the proliferation of fake tax stamps, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said on Tuesday.
During the ways and means committee hearing at the House of Representatives, Dominguez said the government plans to revise the stamp design, and install CCTV cameras inside the cigarette manufacturers’ factories and warehouses to enable the BIR to closely monitor their operations.
“We at the Department of Finance have been undertaking proactive steps to prevent these fake stamps from proliferating. Among these measures are plans to change the stamp design and install closed circuit television or CCTV monitoring systems by cigarette manufacturers inside their factories and warehouses so that BIR personnel can monitor their operations,” Dominguez told the lawmakers.
“We have also strengthened our enforcement operations against the use of counterfeit stamps,” he added.
BIR Assistant Commissioner Teresita Angeles said that the new cigarette tax stamps will be out by October.
This since the BIR last March filed a P9.5-billion tax evasion case against cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp. for allegedly using fake tax stamps to deprive the government of excise tax payments.
Dominguez also told the House committee that the BIR as well as the Bureau of Customs (BOC) are pursuing reforms in tax administration, such as the use of the Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System (IRSIS) for both cigarettes and alcohol products in a bid to plug leakages and increase revenue collection.
Dominguez said besides pushing for the comprehensive tax package, the DOF wanted to improve its tax administration “to optimize revenue collections and plug the leakages in the system that have cost our government tens of billions of pesos in foregone revenues each year.”
Among the reforms include affixing of Internal Revenue Stamps on imported and locally manufactured cigarettes, as well as the implementation of IRSIS to curb smuggling in the cigarette industry.
Dominguez said the IRSIS will now include alcohol products, with the BIR set to sign a memorandum of agreement with the APO Production Unit for the printing of the alcohol tax stamps.
“The Integrated System will also be implemented for alcohol products. We have so far completed public consultations with the concerned stakeholders and prepared the Terms of Reference and other requirements for the system. The BIR has already forged a Memorandum of Agreement with the APO Production Unit for the printing of the stamps,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez lauded the BIR and the Bureau of Customs for its efforts to curb counterfeit tax stamps.
“Our nation today is fiscally secure in the face of global and domestic challenges. Several factors have contributed to this stable fiscal status. Among them is our improved revenue collections, which, in the first 10 months of the Duterte administration reached P2.09 trillion,” Dominguez said.
“For this, credit should go to the administrative reforms in our main revenue agencies, the BIR and the Bureau of Customs, that have substantially improved our revenue effort,” he added. JE
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