Dominguez: Gov’t can collect more than Php 5 B from fake tax stamps

MANILA-- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said more than Php 5B billion in tax dues may be generated from cigarette maker Mighty Corp. for its use of fake tax stamps.

"The headlines this week have shown we intend to go after tax evaders including sacred cows of the previous admin. The BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) and BOC (Bureau of Customs) estimate we can collect more than Php 5 billion in deficiencies in taxes and duties from cigarettes seized with fake tax stamps," he said in his speech at the tax forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Shangri La hotel in Makati City.

The BIR and the BOC have conducted series of raids in Mighty Corporation warehouses in Pampanga and the cities of General Santos and Zamboanga in Mindanao where cases of Mighty-manufactured cigarettes were found to bore fake stamp tax that costs the government at least a billion pesos worth of revenues.

Dominguez told reporters at the sidelines of the tax forum that the government was still determining the total taxes to be collected from Mighty based on the seized cigarettes, but cited that the process was hampered by the troop of lawyers hired by the cigarette manufacturer.

On Thursday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who directed Mighty to just pay Php 3 billion for its liabilities and said proceeds of which should be given to some hospitals.

Dominguez said "this cannot be done" because "the payment must be paid to the government and not somebody else."

He explained that what the president meant was for the tax dues to be collected and for the additional revenues to be allocated to hospitals.

"I think that's the message you have to take from the president. That he wants us to collect the tax so that we can improve the health care services, which is the real intent of the Sin Tax Law," he said.

Dominguez stressed that a case will be filed once all the evidence have been gathered.

That's our duty. It's not a question of whether we want it or not. This is our duty to do so, " he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency