The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is eyeing to collect roughly P 500 million in unpaid excise taxes on imported alcohol and tobacco products.
This concerns products brought through the Subic Bay Freeport economic zone and other freeport zones in the Philippines, the agency's top official said.
The decision was reached after the Supreme Court gave the government the permission to collect excise taxes from imported alcohol and tobacco products brought through freeport zones.
According to customs commissioner Napoleon Morales, the agency is now waiting for a copy of the Supreme Court decision so that it can implement the order.
Morales said the P 500 million would help the agency to raise more revenues as it struggles to meet its 2007 collection goal of P 228 billion as well as next year’s target of P 254 billion.
A lower court in Olongapo City had barred the government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the BOC from imposing excise taxes on 'sin products' imported through Subic and other special freeport zones, leaving a huge dent on state coffers.
The Supreme Court, however, recently nullified the order of the Olongapo city court, stating that the lower court had committed a grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order.
Morales said the Olongapo Court's decision had been a major problem for the BOC as it was not able to collect excise taxes from imported alcohol and cigarettes entering the country through freeport zones. (sra)