The Bureau of Customs will collect some P2.4 billion in tax deficiencies uncovered in a post-clearance audit of cooperatives that imported rice in 2019 and 2020.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said a post-clearance audit on the rice imports for 2019 showed 48 cooperatives with tax deficiencies totaling P1.4 billion.
Meanwhile, the agency has destroyed 4.28 tons of unregistered and hazardous goods in Trece Martires, Cavite.
“The condemnation of unregistered cosmetics and food products is part of the Bureau of Customs’ border protection initiatives to protect the public against unsafe and hazardous consumer products,” BOC-NAIA District collector Carmelita Talusan said.
The Port of NAIA has already condemned 371.42 tons of unregistered and hazardous goods as part of the government’s efforts to decongest all ports and warehouses.
The 48 cooperatives came from an initial batch of top 60 importers out of more than 320 cooperatives that imported rice last year, Guerrero said in his report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“They have been issued audit notices and subsequent demand letters for the payment of additional duties and taxes as a result of the under-declarations of their imports,” Guerrero said during a recent Department of Finance Executive Committee meeting.
Guerrero said several of the importers with tax deficiencies were contesting the demand letters, which had slowed down the bureau’s efforts to collect the additional duties and taxes from them.
For this year, Guerrero says, Customs estimates that a post-clearance audit of another set of top 60 importers will yield an additional P1 billion in tax deficiencies on undervalued rice imports.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier issued an order suspending the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances to cooperatives and irrigators’ associations, effectively barring them from importing rice, after he received reports that these organizations had resorted to rice imports rather than procuring local rice from farmers.