Finance dept-attached agencies to require tax courses for hiring, promotion starting 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2020   •   648

MANILA, Philippines – Training courses offered by the Philippine Tax Academy (PTA) will soon become a requirement in the hiring or promotion of employees in the bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR), of Customs (BOC), and Local Government Finance (BLGF) starting next year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said basic courses offered by the PTA will also become mandatory in the appointment of treasurers in local government units (LGU).

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said this requirement covers all existing employees of the BIR, BOC and BLGF before they can be promoted.

It also covers all applicants, whether contractual or permanent, before they can be hired in these bureaus, and all local treasurers before they can be appointed.

Beltran said passing these basic Tax Academy courses are mandatory under Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10143, which established the PTA, and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Section 4 of the PTA law states that: “All existing officials and personnel of the BIR, the BOC and the BLGF shall be required to undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs to be conducted by the PTA. All applicants to the said bureaus shall also be required to pass the basic courses before they can be hired whether on contractual or permanent status.”

Beltran said that even before the full implementation of this provision, these courses have been regularly inducted for new employees of DOF-attached agencies.

“These courses were migrated online during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that the Academy can continue to offer them even with community quarantine measures in place, said Beltran, who oversees the DOF’s implementation of the PTA law,” he said.

Under RA 10143, the PTA “shall serve as a learning institution for tax collectors and administrators of the government and selected applicants from the private sector.”

DOF OKs inclusion of COVID-19 vaccine imports in express lane for tax processing

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – All importations of COVID-19 vaccines will now be included in the “Mabuhay” or express lane of the Department of Finance to allow quick processing of the tax and duty exemptions of these shipments, the department said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III approved the inclusion of vaccine imports to allow for the expedited processing of the tax and exemptions for vaccine applications.

Under Department Order 29-94, the Mabuhay Lane is tasked to expeditiously process applications for the tax and duty exemption of certain groups of importers, which include export-oriented firms, returning residents (balikbayans) and non-profit, non-stock educational institutions.

COVID-19 vaccine tax exemption applications in the Mabuhay Lane, which is under the DOF’s Revenue Office, will be processed within 24 working hours, the department said.

These tax exemption policies will be incorporated in the inter-agency guidelines on the implementation of a one-stop shop for international donations and government-procured COVID-19 vaccines, the department added.

Dominguez also approved the waiving of filing fees for COVID-19 vaccine applications under the Mabuhay Lane and the use of the Tax Exemption System Online Filing Module in processing the vaccine imports “to further support the government’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program.”

“We add that the Mabuhay Lane currently processes all Relief Consignment under Section 120 in relation to 121 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The Lane is expected to process all COVID-19 vaccines which may qualify as relief consignment,” Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said.

Relief Consignment refers to goods donated to national government agencies and accredited private entities for free distribution to, or for the use of, victims of calamities.

Under Section 121 of the CMTA, relief consignment imported during a state of calamity and intended for the use of calamity victims shall be exempted from the payment of duties and taxes.

DOF orders BOC to heighten security vs pork smuggling

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to heighten its security against pork smuggling .

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III wants a tighter watch over the possible misdeclaration or misclassification of pork shipments entering the country.

The order was issued after President Duterte approved in principle the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to expand the minimum access volume (MAV) allocation for pork imports.

Dominguez said some importers may misdeclare their pork shipments to avoid paying higher import duties. The current tariff on pork within the MAV is at 30 percent, while off-quota imports are taxed a higher 40 percent. 

“Edible offal (entrails) of bovine animals, such as swine, sheep and goats are taxed much lower, which some importers may declare [for their] prime pork shipments to avoid paying higher import duties,” the DOF said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero assured that the bureau has been closely monitoring the imports of meat products, including pork and chicken. AAC

P13-M worth of smuggled cigarettes, medicines seized in Parañaque ops – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported it has apprehended smuggled cigarettes and medicines worth P13 million in a series of operations recently launched in Parañaque City.

The BOC said the items, allegedly smuggled from China, were confiscated in separate operations in two storage facilities located in Tambo last February 16 and 19.

The first operation yielded an estimated value of P4 Million while the subsequent operation yielded an estimated P9 Million worth of cigarettes and medicines which are suspected to be used to treat COVID-19, the bureau added.

The BOC said operations were launched by operatives from its Manila International Container Ports (MICP) Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation.

“Further investigation is underway to determine those responsible for the storage facility,” the agency said in a statement.

Charges for violation of section 1400 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act may be filed against those behind the smuggled items, the BOC said.

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