Cigarette excise tax revenues have substantially increased following Japan Tobacco, Inc.’s takeover of Mighty Corp., the Finance department said.

Excise tax payments attributable to Mighty brands totaled P20.22 billion from September to December 2017, the department said, a 262-percent improvement or P14.65 billion more than the P5.57 billion recorded in the comparable 2016 period.

Total excise tax collections for last four months of 2017 hit P71.24 billion, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay reported, 26.68 percent higher compared to the previous year’s P56.24 billion.

The tobacco industry accounted for 57.4 percent or P40.91 billion of the excise tax take.

“What stands out there is the Mighty-JTI improvement in collections as they represented 262-percent improvement from September to December,” Dulay was quoted as saying in a report.

Taking slight differences in the periods being compared into consideration, Finance Assistant Secretary Mark Dennis Joven said that excise tax payments from Mighty brands were still up by around P13 billion.

“That’s still about P4 billion a month more,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd was quoted as saying during a Finance department’s Executive Committee meeting.

Dominguez noted, however, that JTI might have been frontloading stocks in anticipation of higher “sin” taxes beginning 2018.

Still, the Finance department said the government would continue to collect about P2 billion more per month, after the frontloading period ends, from JTI-Mighty brands.