TWO courts have ordered warrants of arrest for a vape seller who has allegedly cheated the government of P1.2 billion in taxes, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said on Monday.

“After winning the case before the Department of Justice, criminal information was filed before the Court of Tax Appeals and the Metropolitan Trial Court,” the BIR said in a statement regarding the criminal cases it filed, following the raid on the vape seller’s business last November.

“Both courts have already ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest [against the accused],” it added.

The seller is being charged with unlawful possession or removal of articles subject to excise tax without payment of tax and the selling of heated tobacco products and vapor products at a price lower than combined excise and value-added taxes, among other charges.

The vape seller did not immediately reply to a request for comment sent to the email listed on the company’s website.

“The BIR is closely monitoring the vape industry. Comply with the registration and taxation requirements under our laws,” BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. said.

“The vape industry is already a regulated industry, the BIR has already established a system for the proper registration and payment for this purpose,” he added.

Last year, the BIR reported that it filed 259 cases under its ‘Run After Tax Evaders’ program with total tax liabilities worth P18.3 billion.

The agency is tasked to collect P3 trillion in revenues this year. Last year, it fell short of its collection target, generating P2.53 trillion in revenues against its P2.64-trillion goal. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson