- The National Printing Office (NPO) and Apo Productions Unit, Inc. (APO) are being investigated for overprinting tax seals for cigarettes and liquor allegedly being used by smugglers to sell their contraband
- The probe is aimed at determining who is responsible for the unlawful production and distribution of the tax seals
- The NPO and APO are two of the only three recognised agencies tasked with the printing of government accountable forms
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said that the investigation is necessary to inform the public who is accountable for the illegal production of tax seals. (Photo from inquirer.net)
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said that the audit is necessary to inform the public this illegal activity has already been in operation during former President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.
In an interview with Inquirer reporters, Andanar said, “We have to fix this. I have ordered an audit … to show the public that it has been happening … It’s already happening before we came in. I was told the tax seals were being used to sell cigarettes and alcoholic beverages that were smuggled into the country.”
Andanar was tipped by a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) official who complained about the ongoing nefarious activity in the NPO. The official also claimed that an NPO insider is responsible for the overprinting of the tax seals.
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“It’s difficult to get evidence, but the BIR said it’s [true]. So now they have to produce the evidence that there was double printing of the tax seals for cigarettes and liquor,” Andanar said.
If the allegations are proven true, Andanar stated that the government would stand to lose a significant amount in potential revenue from the excise taxes that the BIR should have collected from manufacturers of cigarettes and liquor.
The stamps tax system was launched by the BIR in order to ensure the collection of correct excise taxes on tobacco and liquor products. Excise or sin taxes are imposed by the government on the production, sale, and consumption of products and form part of the overall BIR annual collection.
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For cigarettes the tax stamps come in six different colors, depending on whether the cigarettes were packed by hand or machine, locally manufactured, imported or exported, as well whether they are slapped with either high or low taxes. It features a butanding (whale shark) design. On the other hand, liquor tax stamps are set to be launched by the BIR during the second half of 2016.
Since the launch of the stamps tax system in 2013, the BIR’s excise tax collection has improved reaching a record high of PHP 141.84 billion this year. - IS, Kami Media