Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said retailers should seek the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) assistance to know if the tobacco products they are selling bear genuine or fake tax stamps.
“They can call the BIR, they have a way to check, they have devices to check,” Dominguez told reporters on Wednesday when asked to comment on the concerns of cigarette retailers.
Supposedly, cigarette retailers want to know how to figure out if the cigarette products they are selling are bogus or not.
If found to bear fake tax stamps, Dominguez said retailers should surrender the cigarette products to the government.
A group of supermarket retailers claimed that the government has not yet issued any guidelines on how they can go about the proliferation of fake cigarettes or those that bear fake tax stamps, particularly products manufactured by Mighty Corp.
“Right now, I think the government is trying to figure out or ‘settling’ the Mighty operation. As for us, it’s business as usual as of the moment until we get a clear guidance from the authorities, like the DoF or DTI,” said Steven Cua, president of Philippine Amalgamated and Supermarket Association said.
DTI is the Department of Trade and Industry.
“We’re assuming the good government is checking the legitimacy of all products that come out of Mighty factories, and regulated tobacco industry. We have no way of finding out if this product is legitimate. We need a clear guidance from authorities saying do not accept this particular product,” Cua noted.
BIR sues retailers
In a related development, the BIR on Wednesday filed separate criminal complaints against three retailers for supposedly selling cigarette products without tax stamps.
Charged before the City Prosecutor’s Office of Manila were Samson Sy of Dongnanya Mini Mart, Kareene Villanueva of Keisha Mart and Henderson Jacla of Min-Shun Trading.
The appraised value of the contraband articles seized from the establishments were initially estimated at P182,400.00, P4,610.00 and P117,230.00, respectively.
Their estimated basic excise tax liabilities based on the appraised values were computed at P36,780.00, P1,530.00 and P18,300.00, respectively.
“The three respondents, all registered taxpayers of Revenue District Office No. 31, Sta. Cruz, Manila of the BIR’s Revenue Region (RR) No. 6, Manila, were the subject of covert surveillance operations during which they were discovered to have been selling cigarettes without the requisite internal revenue stamps as mandated under existing tax laws, rules and regulations,” the BIR said.
“Pursuant to separate a mission, cigarettes found not bearing the requisite internal revenue stamps were seized by investigators. The corresponding Tax Information Sheets, Checklist of Violation Sheets, Apprehension Slips, and Inventories of Confiscated Products were issued by the raiding BIR enforcement officers. Photographs of the seized articles were also taken,” it added.