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BIR forms task force to watch sugar industry

The Bureau of Internal Revenue said Tuesday it formed a task force to monitor sugar stocks and shipments to ensure that correct taxes are paid.

BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay said in a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III the task force would monitor not only importers, but also millers, planters, traders and dealers of refined sugar. 

Dulay said he already wrote the Sugar Regulatory Administration in July asking for data on sugar importers. 

BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said the bureau has already collated an initial list of millers and planters who sold their rights to import sugar. 

“The Task Force on Sugar is undertaking inventory stock-taking, validate the volume of imports based on allocations, and ascertain the payment of correct taxes by importers, local planters, and millers,” Guballa said during the DoF’s executive committee meeting. 

Dominguez said aside from ordering the BIR to ensure that importers were paying the correct taxes, he also directed the bureau and Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran to review the current policy of the SRA allowing farmers and planters’ associations that were awarded import allocations to sell their rights to traders. 

Dominguez said local sugar millers and planters who sell their importation rights should also be taxed as they were making a profit from such a privilege.  

Preliminary data gathered by the BIR showed that traders were paying local millers and planters who sold their rights for around P500 per bag. 

“There is import duty and tax for that, and the one who received that payment for the right to import, he should also be taxed. [We will] talk to the SRA about this and raise all these issues,” Dominguez told BIR officials during the meeting.

Dominguez said that as a result of the current system of traders buying rights to import sugar, the price of the commodity remained high in the retail market. 

“They [traders] are able to bring down the landed cost of sugar here by only a very small amount because there’s this fee that is paid” to be able to buy rights to import sugar, Dominguez said.  

Topics: Bureau of Internal Revenue , Caesar Dulay , Secretary Carlos Dominguez III , Sugar Regulatory Administration
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