THE GOVERNMENT collected P257.23 billion in duties and taxes from marked fuel nearly two years into the implementation of the anti-smuggling program, the Department of Finance (DoF) reported.

The fuel marking program generated P227.75 billion in revenues for the Bureau of Customs (BoC), which deals with fuel imports, between September 2019 to July 9, according to DoF data sent to reporters via Viber on Monday.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which oversees locally produced fuel collected P29.48 billion in excise taxes so far.

The program processed 26.49 billion liters of fuel during the 21 months of its implementation.

Around 73.5% or 19.46 billion liters of fuel were marked in Luzon, 21.2% or 5.6 billion liters in Mindanao and the remaining 5.4% or 1.4 million liters in Visayas.

Based on the kind of fuel, diesel accounted for 60.9% or 16.14 billion liters, while gasoline made up 38.6%, or 10.21 billion liters. Kerosene made up the remaining 142.5 million liters.

The fuel marking program deters smuggling by injecting the products with a special dye to signify tax compliance. The absence of the dye is deemed prima facie evidence that the fuel was smuggled.

In a circular last month, the BIR reminded taxpayers that there are hefty penalties and criminal sanctions for violators of the fuel marking program. 

For instance, those who sell, trade or deliver unmarked fuel products are subject to a fine of P2.5 million on first offense, P5 million on second and P10 million on third plus license revocation.

Businesses found to have tampered with the official fuel marking dye by either removing the agent or diluting the volume could face similar penalties.

Producing, importing, selling and using fuel markers that are either unauthorized or fake also carry penalties of up to P5 million, and between 4-8 years’ imprisonment.

Those who inject fake additive or chemical components face a fine of P5 million to P10 million and jail time of between 4-8 years.

Lastly, persons involved in packaging and labeling fake dyes while businesses who attempted to conceal unpaid tax through fraud, destruction of documents and misdeclaration, will also be slapped with fines of up to P5 million and maximum of 8 years’ imprisonment.

The Energy department, BoC and BIR agreed in May to share information and reconcile their statistics on fuel products going in and out of the country to further strengthen the government’s fuel marking program.

The DoF has estimated that revenue foregone due to oil smuggling was between P20 billion and P40 billion a year. — Beatrice M. Laforga