Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tax Drop

Finance dept wants probe on drop in cigarette tax take

Inquirer News Service

THE law raising taxes on tobacco and alcoholic products has failed to meet the government's revenue expectations in the first half, prompting the Department of Finance to call for an investigation into the weak collections from tobacco manufacturers.

Instead of rising with the increased tax rates imposed by the new law, excise tax collections dropped 7.39 percent in the January-June period to P10.5 billion from P11.3 billion in the same months last year, according to documents from the department.

The collection of excise tax from cigarette firms in the six months fell short of the government's forecast of P11.34 billion.

On alcoholic beverages, collection of the increased excise tax reached P9.06 billion, compared with the government-set target of P8.6 billion. But in June, the government collected only P1.3 billion, 8.12 percent lower than the P1.4-billion target for the month.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said he would order the Bureau of Internal Revenue to make an inquiry to explain the drop in collection despite the increase in the tax rates.

The bureau said it had started monitoring the production volumes of cigarette and alcohol companies to check the accuracy of their excise tax remittances.

It said it had come up with a new technology that would electronically record the volume of products being released from cigarette and alcohol factories. Michelle V. Remo, with INQ7.net

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