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Lumagui: BIR raids houses being used as warehouses for illicit cigarettes in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, 219M in tax liability

Illicit cigarettes

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui Jr. reports that a raid in several locations in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur resulted in the confiscation of 347,869 packs of illicit cigarettes last April 24, 2024. The illicit traders will be facing P219,157,470.00 in tax liability.

“Residential houses are now being used as warehouses by traders of illicit cigarettes. If you see any signs of illicit cigarettes or vape products in your neighborhood, report the same to the BIR. Illicit trade destroys legitimate businesses. It destroys the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos. It undermines fair competition. We urge all consumers to stop buying illicit cigarettes and vape,” Commissioner Lumagui stated.

The illicit traders involved in the aforementioned raid violated Section 236: Failure to Register its Business as an Excise Taxpayer; Section 255: Failure to File Return (Excise), supply correct and accurate information; Section 258: Unlawful Pursuit of Business; Section 263: Unlawful Possession or Removal of Articles Subject to Excise Tax without Payment of Tax; and Section 265: – Offenses relating to Stamps under the National Internal Revenue Code. Administrative penalties, which include assessments that may be multiplied ten times, may also be included.

Illicit-cigarettes

The raid was made possible due to the assistance of Air Force Intelligence, the Military Intelligence Group, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines 401st Brigade. We will continue to work with various enforcement agencies as part of our campaign against illicit trade. Upon discovery of the cigarettes, the items were immediately identified as illicit because none of the items bore the required BIR stamps. The unexplained possession of illicit cigarettes, the tax on which has not been paid, is already punishable by imprisonment under the National Internal Revenue Code. We will include the owners of these warehouses and residential houses in the cases that we will file. Liability attaches to the possessor of the illicit goods.

Illicit-cigarettes

The BIR has been consistent in addressing illicit cigarettes and vape. It will continue its crusade against these products, in line with the directive from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to expand and strengthen efforts to protect the tobacco industry against illicit cigarettes and vape.

“Ang pagbebenta ng ilegal na sigarilyo at vape ay isang krimen. Hindi na nga sila nagbabayad ng tamang buwis, pinapatay pa nila ang mga lehitimong negosyo na bumubuhay sa milyun-milyong Pilipino. Wag po tayong bibili ng ilegal na sigarilyo at vape. I-report po natin ang mga nagbebenta nito,” Commissioner Lumagui stated.

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