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August 30, 2007
Inquiry on excise tax of cigarette brands

The Philippine House of Representatives will look into the excise tax classification of all cigarette brands in an effort to enhance revenue collection that will ease the country's budget deficit.

Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the inquiry will particularly determine if there have been loopholes in the implementation of the excise tax reform since it took effect in 1997.

He cited reports that the government is reportedly losing P20 in excise tax for every pack of locally manufactured Pall Mall cigarettes sold in the market or approximately some P93 million (US$2 million) a year.

The tax loss reportedly resulted from the decision of Finance Undersecretary Gaudencio Mendoza, who reversed the final ruling of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued February 22.

Under the BIR ruling, Pall Mall cigarettes were supposed to pay an excise tax of Php26 per pack made and sold in the Philippines.

This was based on the present excise tax law which provides that any newly introduced cigarette brand whether imported or locally produced must pay an excise tax of at least P25. PNA reports

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