WITH the Bureau of Customs falling slightly below its target for the month of September, the agency has stepped up efforts to improve revenue collections, holding errant taxpayers accountable for their past offenses.
The bureau has sent a demand letter to luxury car importer Auto Nation Group, Inc. formerly CATS Motors, Inc., requesting the company to explain what appeared to be highly irregular inconsistencies in its payment records.
Auto Nation is the exclusive distributor of Mercedes Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram automobiles in the country.
Through an official correspondence, the acting collector of the Manila International Container Port, Antonio Meliton, informed Auto Nation President Felix Ang that his company was found to have been deficient of P233.821 million in duties and taxes, accumulated throughout 2015.
Records showed Auto Nation imported 138 units of Mercedes Benz units (composed of A250, B180, B200, E250, E400, CLS400, CLA200, GLA200, S400L and S500 models) in 15 shipments last year, and only paid P196.529 million in customs duties. Based on the standard rules and computation of the BOC, however, the amount should have been close to P432 million.
Customs collected P33.95 billion in revenues last month, missing its P35.79-billion goal by 5.14 percent.
Auto Nation is a partnership between Ang, former Government Service Insurance System Trustee Gregorio Yu, and Lamoiyan Corporation’s Cecilio Pedro.
Ang and Yu are known to be close friends and associates of former Finance secretary Cesar Purisima, and were reportedly two of the main contributor’s to the failed presidential bid of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd.
This was not the first time Auto Nation registered in the radar of a government revenue collection agency.
In 2013, its predecessor CATS Motors, Inc. was recommended for closer investigation for possible tax evasion by six officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, but the memorandum was not signed by then commissioner Kim Henares.