SBMA shuts down cigarette manufacturer for tax evasion

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) shut down a cigarette manufacturer for tax evasion amid a crackdown on companies here that fail to pay appropriate taxes and follow government regulations.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma identified the company as Qiu Tobacco Industrial Co. Ltd. Corp., which is engaged in the transshipment, packaging and repacking of tobacco products.

Eisma and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Region 3 Director Ed Tolentino led a joint SBMA-BIR team on Friday in inspecting the facilities of six cigarette manufacturers at the Gateway Park here to flush out those involved in the circulation of untaxed and fake cigarette products in the country.

During the inspection, it was found out that Qiu Tobacco, which produces cigarette brands like Belmont, Navy and D&B, did not have excise tax stamps on their soft packs.

A Chinese national who was caretaker at the facility said the cigarette brands were sold outside the country. But the joint SBMA-BIR team noted that the cigarettes had markings indicating they were intended for Philippine market.

Tolentino said this was a violation of Sec. 263 of the National Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits the possession or removal of articles subject to excise tax without payment of tax. Excise tax is a duty on manufactured goods which is levied at the moment of manufacture, rather than at sale.