Tax clearance scrapping by Customs welcomed

Published March 4, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Jun Ramirez

Importers and Customs brokers welcomed the scrapping of a regulation for them to secure tax clearance certificates from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) before they can bring goods out of Customs zones.

BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said “the authority to register Customs brokers and importers was reverted solely to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for purposes of simplification of process.”

He said the bureau will no longer accept applications for the Importers’ Clearance Certificate (ICC) and Brokers Clearance Certificates (BCC) effective March 1.

He issued the advisory based on Department Order No. 011-2018 signed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez.

Customs stakeholders had complained that the regulation made it difficult for them to secure tax clearances, while many customs brokers complained that imported fruits and other agricultural products perished at the pier zones because of the delay in getting the documents.

The BIR issued ICCs and BCCs after taxpayers were cleared of outstanding liabilities only after a tedious process that starts from district to regional offices and ends at specialized audit divisions in the national office.

Applicants must submit various papers like no record of delinquent accounts, annual registration fee for the current year paid and the filing of requisite tax returns and payment of the tax due thereon.

The requirement was adopted by the previous administration to compel taxpayers to settle their back accounts before they can do business with the bureau.

The department order, however, requires Customs to transmit to BIR on a quarterly basis the list of accredited customs brokers and importers for post-accreditation validation of tax compliance.

If any tax deficiency is noted, BIR must notify Customs immediately.