MANILA, Philippines – Cigarette packs bearing tax stamps will be available in the local market starting August to address the issue on illicit trade, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said certified cigarette manufacturers will receive the tax stamps from state-run APO Production Unit Inc.
“Cigarette manufacturers shall get first certification from the BIR that they have paid the excise tax, then APO will give them the new tax stamps, which they will affix on every pack of cigarettes,” Henares said, noting that the agency will not disclose the security features of the P1.7 billion tax stamp project.
“We will keep to ourselves the security features of this stamp so that it won’t be compromised,” she said.
Local cigarette manufacturers and distributors backed the tax stamp project, but at the same time called for a longer transition period.
Japan Tobacco International Philippines, the makers of Winston cigarettes, earlier said it will need at least three months to prepare and affix the tax stamps on its packs.
Government is required to affix permanent revenue stamps on cigarette packs to address smuggling and tax issues under Republic Act 8240.
The stamps will replace the stickers currently being used on cigarette packs.
According to a study, government lost a potential P15.6 billion in 2013 due to consumption of illicit cigarettes in the country.
Domestic illicit cigarettes are those produced to be illegally sold and consumed without paying applicable taxes.