The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed 69 criminal complaints at the Department of Justice for tax evasion against illicit cigarette traders amounting to a loss of P1.8 billion in revenue.
In an ambush interview after the filing, BIR chief Jun Lumagui Jr. said the complaints stemmed from a nationwide raid conducted on January 25.
“Ang sigarilyo kasi ay dapat niyan, bago kayo makapagbenta niyan dapat bayad ang excise tax niyan, so dapat bayad ang buwis niyan. May stamp na nakadikit diyan sa mga sigarilyo, doon sa pakete ng sigarilyo ,” Lumagui said.
(Because before you can sell cigarettes, the excise tax must be paid. There’s should be a stamp on the cigarette packet.)
“Ngayon, itong mga nahuli natin noong nakaraang January 25 na raid ay ‘yung iba dito walang stamp, ‘yung iba dito ay peke 'yung stamps na kunwari na pinapalabas na bayad ang tax,” he added.
(Now, those we confiscated on January 25 raid did not have stamps, some had fake stamps as if they paid taxes.)
Lumagui said some of the respondents also sold fake cigarettes.
Meanwhile, he said the 69 cases involve 15 revenue regions.
The BIR chief said they received information that the suppliers are “big syndicate.”
“Yan ang nakuha natin na impormasyon. 'Yung talagang supplier niyan ay malaking sindikato, itong gumagawa niyan. So hinahanap din natin 'yan. Hopefully, makuha din natin kung sino-sino 'yung talagang ultimate suppliers,” Lumagui said.
(That’s the information we received, that the supplier is a big syndicate. So we are also looking for them. Hopefully, we will know who is the ultimate supplier.)
According to Lumagui, the BIR estimates a yearly loss of P50 billion to P100 billion from the illicit cigarette trade.
“Ang masama pa niyan, imbis napupunta ‘yan sa ating healthcare services na makakatulong sa ating mamamayan, napupunta sa imprastraktura… hindi nandito lang sa illicit traders napupunta ang mga ito,” he said.
(Instead of these funds going to healthcare services that will help the people or infrastructures, they go to illicit traders.)—AOL, GMA Integrated News