BIR files P1.8 billion tax evasion charges vs cigarette traders

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed on Thursday, May 25, before the Department of Justice (DOJ) at least 69 tax evasion charges which involve around P1.8 billion that was supposed to be paid to the government for entry of imported cigarettes into the country.

BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. said those slapped with the criminal charges are individuals who were arrested in a series of raids conducted in January this year that resulted in the confiscation of multi-peso billion worth of imported cigarettes.

"This serves as a strong warning to all illicit traders that the BIR will not only conduct raids, but also pursue criminal charges," said Lumagui.

He said the raids were participated in by BIR personnel in coordination with various law enforcement agencies.

Lumagui has committed to continue the aggressive campaign against tax cheats, saying such modus denies the government of huge sum of money that is supposed to be used for government projects and other services to the people.

"The BIR is dedicated to safeguarding the Philippine economy by ensuring a level playing field for all. Every individual involved in the trading of cigarettes, vape products, petroleum, and other taxable goods must register with the BIR and fulfill their tax obligations," said Lumagui.

"Failure to comply will result in raids on your establishments and the filing of criminal cases against you," he added.