• 23 import firms cheating govt

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    AT least 23 import companies were found to have shortchanged the government of billions of pesos in duties and taxes by submitting inaccurate import declarations to the Bureau of Customs (BoC), according to Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina.

    Lina said the tax deficiencies of these firms, 18 of which import resins and five, steel and iron importers, were discovered following a post-entry audit (PEA) assessment conducted by the Fiscal Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Finance department.

    In its report, the FIU said the resin importers have an accumulated deficiency of P2 billion, while the steel and iron importers had a deficiency of P55 million.

    The FIU has been conducting post entry audit of the activities of importers since June 2014 pursuant to Department Order No. 44-2014.

    According to Lina, demand letters have been sent to the erring firms, ordering them to settle their deficiencies within 10 days or file an appeal within 30 days upon receipt of the final notice.

    He added that initial notices have earlier been sent to the 23 delinquent importers but no one replied.

    “We will not allow the systemic corruption of government coffers. We want to implement what is provided by law: to ensure that we collect correct taxes to fund government services,” the BOC chief stressed.

    Lina explained that the PEA audit aims to increase trade facilitation, encourage voluntary disclosures and reduce incidence of fraud.

    “The post-entry audit is an effective and efficient tool to balance the government’s commitment to anti-smuggling, trade facilitation and revenue generation,” he said.

    “This system is a win-win solution for both the trading community and the government as it addresses many of the problems in importation. For the importers, the system expedites clearance of goods by reducing the frequency of customs interventions at the border and resolving issues after release of goods to the importer,” Lina added.

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