TACLOBAN CITY– The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) – Revenue Region No.14 (Eastern Visayas) has appealed to various law enforcement agencies in the region to help them in the crackdown against the proliferation of illicit cigarettes.

During the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee 8 (RLECC) Meeting recently, Lawyer Neil U. Cordero, chief of the Regional Investigation Division of BIR-8, said their office needs assistance from other government agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Philippine Coastguard (PCG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other agencies in terms of intelligence sharing, monitoring of the proliferation of the illicit cigarettes in the market and the actual enforcement activities against dealers, manufacturers, and sellers in Eastern Visayas.

Studies showed that the government is losing billions of revenues in terms of uncollected excise and other taxes on the manufacture and sale of illicit cigarette products.
The BIR runs after those involved in illicit cigarettes because they sell, deal and manufacture without paying the excise tax and other necessary taxes.

“Aside from the excise tax, hindi rin tayo makakolekta ng other taxes in the name of value-added tax, and other income tax kasi ‘pag mga illicit cigarette products, usually hindi rin yan nagbabayad ng VAT at iba pang taxes so yun ang nawawala sa atin,” Cordero said.

Cordero emphasized that cigarettes that did not pass the required tax dues can be classified as contraband, counterfeit, and illicit whites.

Contraband are genuine products that are smuggled and sold illegally while counterfeit are copies of genuine products that are produced and sold illegally.

In addition, illicit whites are tobacco products that are legally produced in one country with the sole intention of selling them in another country.

Illicit cigarettes can easily be determined because they have fake BIR excise stamps, with erroneous graphic health warning, no DOH warning and notice and without name and address of the manufacturer.

Out of the 30 taxpayers in the region that were subjected to enforcement activities of the BIR-RR14 relative to dealing with illicit cigarettes, nine cases were filed with the Department of Justice, one was convicted, and the accused is now serving sentence at the Abuyog Penal Colony.