Postaudit of rice imports yields P1.4B in taxes

Postaudit of rice imports yields P1.4B in taxes

The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) postaudit of rice imports has yielded at least P1.4 billion worth of previously unpaid duties and other fees as a result of undervaluation.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BOC said there were 245 private importers that facilitated the entry of rice shipments from March 5 to June 20 at the height of the longest and most stringent COVID-19 quarantine in the region.

The BOC said that among these firms, “60 entities with the greatest number of incidents of deviation and the highest percentage discrepancies in duties paid were selected for transaction-based audits.”

Citing the audit results, the BOC said “auditees were found liable for the payment of P1,417,167,368.10 in customs duties, penalties, surcharges and interest due to undervaluation, misclassification and/or understatement of freight and insurance charges.”

Also, the BOC said “undervaluation of declared customs value remains the primary risk in revenue collection from rice imports, accounting for P497,941,773.72, or 36.08 percent, of the total deficiency assessment.”

“In terms of the level of compliance, the audit findings show a low level of compliance among the audited importers, as 47 auditees, or 85.45 percent, were found to have violated customs laws and regulations. Meanwhile, eight auditees were found to have properly declared their goods and provided pertinent documentary requirements as stipulated in the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” the BOC said.

“On the other hand, audit examination and investigation of the five auditees were deferred due to its pending dispute settlement proceedings with the respective ports of entry,” the BOC added.

The BOC warned that legal measures and penalties would be imposed on importers found involved in the smuggling of agricultural products and other commodities into the country. —BEN O. DE VERA

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