MANILA, Philippines – Only 63 percent of the total 14,955 importers and customs brokers applied for accreditation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, according to the government’s latest TaxWatch campaign advertisement.
Based on records, a total of 9,418 importers and customs brokers sought accreditation from the BIR and Bureau of Customs during the five-month application period from Feb. 21 to July 31 this year.
The deadline for application was extended twice by the BIR from the original date of May 21 in which only 11 applied. In the first extension which ran from May 22 to June 30, about 3,377 applied.
For the second extension (July 1 to July 31), the number of applicants increased to 6,030.
This leaves 5,577 importers and brokers without any BIR/BOC accreditation.
“By simply applying for your BIR clearance, you would have been automatically granted provisional BOC accreditation,” the government said. Those who failed to apply can still do so as new applicants. However, they will not be issued any provisional accreditations.
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“Accreditation reform is crucial to curb smuggling and leveling the playing field for legitimate traders,” the state further said.
The new process of accreditation, mandated by the Department of Finance, aims to plug the loopholes in importation procedures as part of government’s efforts to curb smuggling.
The new regulations aim to ensure that only legitimate and honest tax-paying businesses can import goods through the Custom’s ports.
The Finance Department’s Fiscal Intelligence Unit has the authority to conduct audit of foreign goods entering the country and ensure that the BOC collects the correct tariff rates and the appropriate amount of import taxes and duties.
The new rules are aimed at plugging revenue leakage arising from smuggling.
Based on studies, the Philippines loses more than P100 billion a year due to smuggling.