Sug­ary bev­er­age tax raises P6B in Q1

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - — Eli­jah Joseph C. Tubayan

THE BU­REAU of In­ter­nal Rev­enue (BIR) col­lected about P6 bil­lion from the new sug­ary drinks tax in the first three months of the year, in the tax’s first year of im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“For sugar-sweet­ened ( bev­er­ages), we col­lected P6 bil­lion,” BIR Com­mis­sioner Cae­sar R. Du­lay told re­porters on Mon­day.

The BIR is­sued a Rev­enue Me­moran­dum Cir­cu­lar (RMC) in Jan­uary pro­vid­ing in­terim in­struc­tions for col­lect­ing the ex­cise tax for sug­ar­sweet­ened bev­er­ages ( SSB). The RMC pro­vides for the pay­ment of the tax be­fore the sweet­ened bev­er­ages are re­moved from the place of pro­duc­tion.

The me­moran­dum also noted that SSB tax­pay­ers are only al­lowed to pay man­u­ally over-the-counter at au­tho­rized agent banks in their Rev­enue Districts pend­ing the tax’s in­clu­sion in the BIR’s elec­tronic pay­ment plat­form.

BIR Deputy Com­mis­sioner Marissa O. Cabreros said that the draft Rev­enue Reg­u­la­tion (RR) for the fil­ing of SSB ex­cise tax re­turns is now with the Depart­ment of Fi­nance (DoF) for fi­nal ap­proval.

“There is a work­around with ref­er­ence to tem­po­rary in­struc­tion on re­turns to be filed us­ing the usual pay­ment form, but even­tu­ally it will be in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized,” she said.

“So far the RR on SSB is be­ing re­viewed by the DoF,” Ms. Cabreros added.

Repub­lic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion Law, among oth­ers, im­poses a P6 per liter tax on bev­er­ages with caloric sweet­en­ers and P12 per liter for those sweet­ened with high- fruc­tose corn syrup. Ms. Cabreros said that the new RR will iden­tify the bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ers pay­ing SSB ex­cise taxes to fa­cil­i­tate mon­i­tor­ing.

She added that she ex­pects col­lec­tions from bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ers to in­crease fur­ther once the bu­reau re­leases the RR.

“It’s the first time for them to be part of the ex­cise tax fam­ily or tax struc­ture. So it’s re­ally be­ing re­fined; there are sev­eral con­sul­ta­tions be­ing made with the stake­hold­ers be­cause we don’t want to be over­bur­dened with some­thing that is not prac­ti­cal… at the same time we want to make it eas­ier for them to com­ply and also eas­ier for us to mon­i­tor and ver­ify their re­port­ing,” she said.

Ms. Cabreros said en­ti­ties that avoid the tax dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod can still be au­dited for up to 10 years.

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