General & Misc

Government Targets Recyclers of Cigarette Tax Stamps

Date: 08 April 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, Apr 8 (PNA) - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has directed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to work closely with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in curbing a new scheme perpetrated by illicit tobacco traders involving their suspected use of recycled tax stamps on fake cigarettes, the Department of Finance (DOF) revealed in a statement on Monday.

During a recent DOF executive committee (Execom) meeting, BIR officials said they found out that some enterprising entities have come up with a promotional scheme in which tax stamps on sold cigarette packs could be exchanged for a can of sardines or a pack of noodles.

Dominguez told the BIR to coordinate with the DTI in stopping this so-called practice, especially if it is determined that no permit was issued for the promo.

He also ordered the BIR to find out who are buying the used tax stamps.

“You better talk to the DTI and tell them that can’t be allowed,” Dominguez told BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay during the meeting.

According to BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa, illicit tobacco traders could be using this promotional scheme to gather used tax stamps to put on packs of fake cigarettes.

Dulay said he will be meeting with representatives from Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco and other cigarette companies, as well as those handling the Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System (IRSIS) to find out how to address this new modus operandi in the illicit tobacco trade.

In January this year, the DOF and BIR led the destruction of several machines used in the manufacture of illicitly traded cigarettes.

The destroyed contraband included units and parts of three filter-maker machines, two packaging machines, and a cigarette-making machine, along with 484 master cases of various finished cigarette brands, and raw materials used in making cigarettes such as filter rods, tipping papers, packaging foil, acetate tow, and other supplies.

To strengthen the campaign against smuggling and tax evasion, the BIR has formed a strike team tasked to crack down on illicit cigarette manufacturing and trade.

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