BIR files 69 criminal cases vs illegal cigarette trader


Posted at May 25 2023 12:49 PM | Updated as of May 25 2023 01:17 PM

MANILA — The Bureau of Internal Revenue said on Thursday it has filed 69 criminal cases for tax evasion against illicit cigarette traders which were caught during the first nationwide raid last January 2023.

"This is a warning against all illicit traders. The BIR will not only raid your stores and warehouses, we will also file criminal cases against you. This will not be the last", Commissioner Romeo Lumagui said in a statement.

January's raid and the filing of cases were the first of its kind in the history of the BIR, it said.

Lumagui said regular raids would be conducted against all illegal traders with the corresponding criminal cases during his administration.
"The BIR protects the Philippine economy by leveling the playing field. Everybody has to pay taxes," he said.

He said traders of cigarettes, vape, petroleum and other goods subjects to taxes have to register with the BIR and pay their taxes.

"Failure to do so would force us to raid your stores and file criminal cases against you. We are in constant surveillance of your businesses. Not only will you have to pay your taxes with penalties and surcharges, but you will also lose your freedom", he said.

During the Global Anti-Illicit Trade Summit held at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Lumagui cited tobacco smuggling as among the obstacles preventing the BIR from hitting its excise tax collection target.


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