By MYRNA M. VELASCO
As an added reportorial requirement, the country’s oil industry players are being required by the Department of Energy (DOE) so submit the names of their customers so the government will have a way to track their sales and the volumes that are coming out from their facilities.
According to sources from the industry, the submission of customer-information is being mandated starting February this month and shall cover their January sales.
The oil companies though are still taking their grips on the logic of such requirement, given the voluminous reporting and document-filings already required from them by the energy department.
As of this writing, the officials of the DOE have not responded to media queries yet relating to this newly enforced information-submission from the oil firms.
At the start of this year, the oil industry just enforced the third tranche of the incremental hike on excise taxes prescribed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act of the Duterte administration.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi just previously cautioned the oil companies that the DOE will be closely monitoring the compliance of the industry players as to the implementation of the last batch of increases in excise taxes.
In a related development, there is also a pending plea with relevant government agencies for the removal of the value-added tax (VAT) portion that had been integrated into the TRAIN-anchored higher excise taxes.
In particular, consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) is urging the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to render a definitive ruling that will purge the VAT charges in the higher excise taxes for petroleum products.
With the third tranche of the adjusted petroleum excise taxes already implemented, the VAT charges that could be freed from consumers’ pockets will be as much as ₱1.20 per liter for the ₱10.00 excise tax on gasoline products.
For diesel, the consumers’ savings from the “no VAT charge” could redound to ₱0.72 per liter out of the excise tax of ₱6.00 per liter; then ₱0.60 per liter for kerosene products of the imposed excise tax of ₱5.00 per liter.
On liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is an essential cooking fuel for households, this could generate additional ₱0.36 per kilogram savings for consumers as referenced on the ₱3.00 per kg excise tax for this particular commodity.
LKI President Victorio Mario Dimagiba said their group corresponded with the BIR on this plea as early as February last year, but the tax agency has yet to issue a clear-cut decision on the matter.
Given what is deemed as slow pace action on this appeal to the BIR, Dimagiba indicated that they also endorsed this petition to the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) complaints desk.
“The request for definitive ruling had been pending for a year,” the LKI president stressed; while noting that such deprives consumers of any warranted refund of VAT payments they shelled out for another tax imposition of the government.
By elevating its appeal to the ARTA, Dimagiba said “we are hoping for swift action to be taken on the matter at hand.”
This “tax on a tax” enforcement of the government had doubly punished the pockets of Filipino consumers since the start of the implementation of the higher TRAIN taxes on petroleum products in January 2018. “It is the position of LKI that there should be no separate VAT imposed and collected on the excise taxes on fuel products,” Dimagiba stressed.