THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected about P6 billion from the new sugary drinks tax in the first three months of the year, in the tax’s first year of implementation.
“For sugar-sweetened (beverages), we collected P6 billion,” BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay told reporters on Monday.
The BIR issued a Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) in January providing interim instructions for collecting the excise tax for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). The RMC provides for the payment of the tax before the sweetened beverages are removed from the place of production.
The memorandum also noted that SSB taxpayers are only allowed to pay manually over-the-counter at authorized agent banks in their Revenue Districts pending the tax’s inclusion in the BIR’s electronic payment platform.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Marissa O. Cabreros said that the draft Revenue Regulation (RR) for the filing of SSB excise tax returns is now with the Department of Finance (DoF) for final approval.
“There is a workaround with reference to temporary instruction on returns to be filed using the usual payment form, but eventually it will be institutionalized,” she said.
“So far the RR on SSB is being reviewed by the DoF,” Ms. Cabreros added.
Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, among others, imposes a P6 per liter tax on beverages with caloric sweeteners and P12 per liter for those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
Ms. Cabreros said that the new RR will identify the beverage manufacturers paying SSB excise taxes to facilitate monitoring.
She added that she expects collections from beverage manufacturers to increase further once the bureau releases the RR.
“It’s the first time for them to be part of the excise tax family or tax structure. So it’s really being refined; there are several consultations being made with the stakeholders because we don’t want to be overburdened with something that is not practical… at the same time we want to make it easier for them to comply and also easier for us to monitor and verify their reporting,” she said.
Ms. Cabreros said entities that avoid the tax during the transition period can still be audited for up to 10 years. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan