BOC, BIR to start field testing enforcement on fuel products on April 26

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021   •   426

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) have announced their intention to begin Field Testing Enforcement activities on fuel products beginning April 26.

The testing covers gasoline, diesel, and kerosene found in warehouses, storage tanks, gas stations, other retail outlets, and in such other properties, to check if they contain the required Fuel Marker level.

Vessels, tank trucks, and similar fuel transporting vehicles will also be covered by the enforcement activities.

Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, petroleum products found without the Official Fuel Marker or not containing the required level of the Official Fuel Marker are subject to payment of duties and taxes, as well as appropriate fines and penalties.

The payment is without prejudice to the confiscation and forfeiture of such Unmarked or Diluted Fuel and the filing of the appropriate criminal case.

The Field Testing process will be done using Mobile Laboratory Units equipped with analyzers capable of detecting the Official Fuel Marker’s presence in any fuel sample.

The test result will be generated on-site and will indicate a pass or fail result. Products with failed results will be subjected to Confirmatory Testing in the Fuel Testing Facility.

For purposes of transparency, the owner of the fuel or his representative will be allowed to witness the Field and Confirmatory Testing.

The two Bureaus began the Transitory Field Testing activities in February this year and will continue until April 26, 2021.

Under the Transitory Field Testing, sample fuels from retail stations and tank trucks in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces were tested to determine the marker levels in the fuel supply available in the domestic market.

The Fuel Marking Program aims to raise revenues while curbing fuel smuggling and leveling the Philippine oil industry.

Beginning its implementation in September 2019 to December 2020, the BOC and BIR marked a total of 17.55 billion liters of fuel and have collected Php171.72 billion in duties and taxes under the program.

BOC cleared over 14M doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday (June 18) reported that over 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been cleared.

During a virtual public briefing on Friday, BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that among the 14 million doses, 9 million are Sinovac vaccines; 2.5 million are AstraZeneca; 2.4 million are Pfizer-BioNtech; and 180,000 are Sputnik V.

Guerrero said the agency is expediting the process for the immediate distribution of the doses.

He also assured the public that the BOC is also making sure that the PPE’s and other medical equipment arriving in the country have proper documentation. The BOC is also diligent in collecting taxes to fund government projects and boost the country’s economic recovery.

The BOC chair will also make sure to intensify efforts in curbing smuggling. He also advised the public to report any complaints to the agency. AAC

Louis Vuitton recognizes BOC’s anti-smuggling, anti-counterfeit drive

Marje Pelayo   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Famous luxury brand Louis Vuitton expressed appreciation for the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) relentless drive against smuggling and counterfeit items.

This year, the combined efforts of BOC Enforcement Group’s Enforcement and Security Service (EG-ESS) and Intelligence Group’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (IG-CIIS) already seized a total of P2.1 billion in estimated counterfeit goods.

Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly known as Louis Vuitton or by its initials LV, is a French fashion house and luxury goods company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton.

The brand is a manufacturer of high-end bags, belts, shoes and other fashion items.

As such, the brand is commonly the victim of counterfeit and fake items that are illegally imported into the country.

In a statement, Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero thanked the famous French brand for the recognition given to the efforts brought forth by the Bureau.

He also thanked the representatives of Louis Vuitton for their continued support in the Bureau’s drive against prohibited goods.

The Commissioner also assured that the Bureau of Customs shall remain committed in securing the country’s border and supporting legitimate brand owners.

Guerrero received a plaque of recognition from the famous luxury brand on June 14.

BIR urged to suspend imposition of tax hike on private schools

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to suspend the imposition of a 25 percent corporate income tax on private schools, warning that the added burden on struggling institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more school closures, job losses, and a more restricted access to education.

In a statement, Gatchalian said BIR’s Revenue Regulation (RR) 5-2021 runs counter to the intention of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or the CREATE Act (Republic Act No. 11534) which seeks to impose a one percent tax rate on proprietary educational institutions for a three-year period.

The law also provides that these institutions have to pay ten percent tax on their taxable income, he added.

Under the CREATE Law, ‘proprietary’ means a private hospital or private school maintained and administered by private individuals or groups. These institutions should have an issued permit to operate from the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

But based on RR 5-2021, proprietary educational institutions have to be non-profit to avail of the reduced tax rate.

“If these rules are imposed, private schools’ income tax rate would increase by 150 percent,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

In an earlier statement, Gatchalian called the tax rule “ill-timed” considering how private schools are trying to stay afloat.

The senator cited the March 2021 Labor Force Survey, which showed that the education sub-industry had the largest decrease in the number of employed persons from February to March 2021 at 248,000.

He noted that last February, DepEd reported that 929 private schools did not operate for the school year (SY) 2020-2021. The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) also said in a statement that enrollment in private K-12 schools dropped by over 900,000 compared to the previous school year.

“Sa panahong karamihan sa ating mga private schools ay nahihirapang magpatuloy ng operasyon sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi napapanahon at hindi tamang patawan natin sila ng karagdagang buwis bilang dagdag pasanin,” Gatchalian said.

The senator likewise said that he is mulling to file a resolution that would urge the BIR to suspend the imposition of the tax hike on private schools.

 

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