Home>News>Lumagui: BIR vows to continue its War against Illicit Vape and Cigarettes in support of PBBM and the Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group anti-smuggling drive
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Lumagui: BIR vows to continue its War against Illicit Vape and Cigarettes in support of PBBM and the Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group anti-smuggling drive

War against Illicit Vape and Cigarettes

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui Jr. has ordered all BIR officials to continue exerting all efforts in fighting against illicit vape and cigarette traders, whether the same be sold online or through brick-and-mortar stores. This order comes after the May 8, 2024, meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group in Malacañang, where President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was present.

Illicit vape and cigarette, whether sold online or through ordinary stores, is tax evasion. It is criminal in nature. The nationwide forces of the BIR have their orders to continue raiding and filing criminal cases against any individual or business that is involved in the illicit vape and cigarette trade. We have warned you as early as 2022. We have raided and filed criminal cases as early as 2022. Register your business and pay your taxes. You are destroying an industry that provides millions of jobs to Filipinos,” Commissioner Lumagui stated.

Commissioner Lumagui has been consistent in his drive against illicit vape and cigarettes since 2022.

The BIR raided vape warehouses in Manila in November 2022; a P1.2 billion criminal case was filed in December 2022. The BIR won this case earlier this year, and warrants of arrest have been issued.

The BIR also conducted, for the first time in its history, a nationwide raid against illicit cigarettes in January 2023. A P1.8 billion criminal case was filed in May 2023 as a result of this nationwide raid. Another set of nationwide raids against illicit cigarettes was conducted in July 2023.

War against Illicit Vape and Cigarettes

For all these efforts, Commissioner Lumagui was awarded by the National Tobacco Administration for leading the fight against illicit tobacco products in August 2023. After this award, the raids and criminal cases against these illicit traders continued. In November 2023, the BIR raided illicit cigarette traders and smugglers in Davao that had P252 million in tax liabilities.

In March 2024, the BIR raided a warehouse in Laguna with illicit Flava vape products. Another set of illicit vape warehouses in Manila and Rizal were also raided by the BIR in the same month. Three large warehouses in Cavite with illicit cigarettes were also raided in the same month, with an estimated P5.4 billion in tax liability.

Although the BIR has been active in raids and the filing of criminal cases against illicit vape and cigarette traders, it is also improving its services and monitoring capabilities. Internal revenue stamps on vape products will be mandatory by June 1 of this year. This will complement its enforcement activities.

War against Illicit Vape and Cigarettes

“Mula 2022, wala nang tigil ang BIR sa pag-raid at pag-sampa ng kaso laban sa illegal na vape at sigarilyo. Matagal niyo nang alam na mali ang ginagawa niyo. Ang mga may hawak at may aktwal na kontrol sa mga illegal na vape at sigarilyo ay kasama sa sasampahan ng mga kasong kriminal at administratibo. Maaaring umabot ng hanggang sampung ulit ang mga penalty na ipapataw sa mga makakasuhan.Sinisira niyo ang isang industriya na nagbibigay trabaho sa milyon-milyong Pilipino. Pwede kayo mag-register at magbayad ng tamang buwis. Para sa mga gumagawa ng tama, asahan niyo na tutulungan po kayo ng BIR. Para sa mga ayaw sumunod, hindi kayo titigilan ng BIR kahit online o sa mga tindahan pa kayo nagbebenta,” Commissioner Lumagui stated.

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