The Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has filed 69 complaints for tax evasion worth PHP1.8 billion ($32.25 million) against tobacco traders, reports Business World.
During a nationwide raid in January, authorities confiscated numerous countless cigarette products.
“This is a warning against all illicit traders,” Internal Revenue Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui Jr. was quoted as saying. “The BIR will not only raid your stores and warehouses, but we will also file criminal cases against you. This will not be the last.”
According to Lumagui, the widespread peddling of illegal tobacco products is hampering government efforts to meet its excise tax collection target of PHP352.9 billion this year.
Lumagui said his agency would partner with online platforms and merchants to impose stricter guidelines on illicit cigarettes.
Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the state should enforce stricter tax collection measures to reach its collection target this year.
“Through intensified collections based on current tax laws, the government can further structurally increase its recurring tax revenue collections,” he said in a Viber message.
The BIR set a collection target of PHP2.6 trillion this year, 11 percent higher than last year.