‘Probe fairly cigarette tax stamp row’

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A lawmaker has commended the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for initiating an industry-wide probe of the massive proliferation of fake tax strip stamps on cigarette packs.

“It is the government’s duty to ensure impartiality in investigating all players in the [cigarette]industry. You cannot single out a local manufacturer just because some paid hacks are throwing baseless accusations. The proper way to do it is to investigate everybody,” Deputy Speaker Mylene Garcia-Albano of Davao City (2nd District) of the PDP-Laban said on Monday.

Jesus Clint Aranas, BIR deputy commissioner for legal services, last week disclosed that the agency will investigate cigarette industry players including market leader and multinational tobacco company, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC).

“It is the government’s duty to ensure impartiality in investigating all players in the [cigarette]industry. You cannot single out a local manufacturer just because some paid hacks are throwing baseless accusations. The proper way to do it is to investigate everybody,” Albano said in a statement.


Excise tax collections last year fell 7.9 percent to P91.6 billion over the P99.5 billion collected in 2015.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Nestor Valeroso attributed the decrease to the proliferation of fake tax stamps and smuggled cigarettes.

While Albano commended the BIR for expanding its inquiry, she said the agency also needed to ensure fairness in its probe.

It was crucial for the BIR, she said, to address the problem of fake tax stamps and smuggled cigarettes since revenue generation will be critical for the Duterte administration’s economic development program.

Congress, according to her, is doing its best to plug revenue leakages to make up for the projected revenue losses from the reduced personal income tax being pushed by Malacanang.

She said a higher excise tax on cigarettes was one of the measures approved by the House to shore up revenues without creating new taxes.

House Bill 4144, which was passed last December, seeks to reintroduce the two-tier tax system for cigarettes, which was replaced by a unitary tax at the start of this year.

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2 Comments

  1. BIR is not trying to pin this on a single company. I’m sure she is referring to Mighty Corp as they have made headlines the other day for allegedly using fraudulent tax stamps. Mighty has been involved in some illicit cigarette trade before and where there is smoke there is fire.

  2. Eloisa Concepcion on

    Impressed with the BIR too for finally going after Mighty and other illicit cigarette traders who is robbing the country with lost taxes. They’ve gotten away with it for so long it’s time they pay up.