BIR raids illicit cigarette traders in northern Cebu

PERSONNEL of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue Region 13 conducted simultaneous operations against the sales of illicit tobacco products in selected stores in Danao City and the municipalities of Consolacion and Lilo-an in northern Cebu on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

Douglas Rufino, Regional Director of BIR - Revenue Region 13 who spearheaded the operation in Consolacion town, told reporters on Wednesday that their main objective was to stop the proliferation of illicit cigarettes.

The official said the team raided four retail stores in the municipality after receiving information that these were engaged in the illegal cigarette trade.

“Just a mere fact nga it doesn’t bear the doc stamps, no tax has been paid on these items and by the looks of it, it may entered the country illegally,” Rufino said.

He added that each item must have a tax stamp as evidence that taxes were paid by the manufacturer and importer prior to selling their products in the market.

The illicit items were sold at a lower price because of the absence of taxes, which deprived the government of tax revenues.

“We shall come up with appropriate assessment and file appropriate charges, if necessary, which is imposed on the excisable item without appropriate tax being paid,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rufino did not discount the possibility that the store owners might have been duped by the supplier to sell their tobacco products without knowing that these are illegal.

Rufino said that the simultaneous nationwide operations against illicit cigarette trade headed by BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. was the first to be conducted by the agency this year.