• Govt earns more from ‘sin’ taxes

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    “Sin” tax collections were some P6 billion higher in the first seven months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, Finance department data showed.

    In growth terms, the January to July take of P73.82 billion was 7.9 percent larger year on year.

    Broken down, revenues from tobacco products were up 3.5 percent at P41.03 billion from P39.63 billion last year.

    Alcoholic products, meanwhile, contributed P32.25 billion, 12 percent higher compared to P27.79 billion a year ago.

    The Finance department expects to net P143.50 billion in “sin” taxes this year and P150.20 billion in 2018

    Following the implementation of a unitary rate this year as mandated by the Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012, the cigarette tax has risen to P30 per pack. The previous rates were P25 for brands selling for P11.50 and below and P29 for those selling above P11.50 per pack.

    For beer, lager beer, ale porter and other fermented liquors, the levy increased to a uniform P23 per litter.

    Increased vigilance
    Over the weekend, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said the government remained on alert for “sin” product smuggling as prices were again set to go up next year.

    “I told [Customs Commissioner Isidro] Lapeña that that is something he have to watch because prices will go up and there are cheap producers in other countries and they will try to smuggle it here,” he said.

    For example, he claimed that a cigarette brand called Two Moons was being sold illegally in Bulacan.

    “Have you heard of the [cigarette brand]Two Moons? There’s plenty in Bulacan. It says they are made in Thailand but we are still tracing,” he said.

    Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said his agency was already looking at the alleged illicit trade, adding that they had also received reports of fake cigarettes being sold elsewhere in the country.

    “We’re looking at it. Also in Bacolod its not just fake tax stamps but fake cigarettes … manufactured and branded as local cigarettes,” he said.

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