Two shipping companies have settled their additional duties and taxes worth P7.9 million, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Monday.
The agency is looking to collect P20 million from seven shipping lines following a review of their importation of sea vessels conducted in coordination with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
Seen Sam Shipping Inc. and Lite Shipping Corp. made the payment after receiving demand letters informing them of the discrepancies in their payment of duties of importations made within the last three years.
The BOC with MARINA signed a memorandum of agreement to stop registration of imported ships and vessels without clearance from the bureau to curb technical smuggling in importations of sea vessels.
The agency is also waiting for the other companies to settle their dues which include: Fortune Sea Carrier Inc., Cebu Urbiztondo Shipping Corp., London Shipping Agents Corp., Aleson Shipping Inc. and Montenegro Shipping Lines Inc.
Under the guidelines, the MARINA will require shipping companies to get import permit first when they acquire new vessels for smooth transaction with the Customs bureau.
Morales said they will only process the documents if the importer of the ship obtained import permit from MARINA.
For imported ships already registered with MARINA, the requirement to secure clearances from Customs shall be a one-time requirement.
Imported ships and vessels previously registered with MARINA will also be subject to post-entry audit of the BOC within three years to check whether there were deficiencies in duties and taxes.
If fraud was established, the stakeholder will be penalized two times to eight times of the fines.
The agreement covers all foreign and imported ships and other vessels, which include any type of craft or artificial contrivance capable of floating in water, transport in the domestic trade or the carriage of passengers or cargo, utilizing its own motive power or that of another converted into Philippine flag or registry, excluding military or government sea craft or vessels.
Meanwhile, the agency has allowed the release of shipments from the depots of PTT Philippines Corp. and Oilink International Corp., two of the country’s major oil importers in Subic and Bataan, after paying the government its tax dues amounting to more than P300 million.
With this, Commissioner Napoleon Morales has lifted the imposition of Section 1508 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) on the two depots after the two oil companies issued checks to cover the amount for their tax obligations to the bureau last week.
Aside from the two firms, Tri Solid Movers Services Inc. has also settled a partial amount of P75 million its tax dues.
Morales said the PTT paid P176 million last November 29, bringing to a total of P293 million the amount they already paid to the government.
On the penalty issue, he said, they are still in talks with the firm’s representatives, noting that they cannot compromise the penalty but they might consider negotiations for the staggered payment of the amount.
The Customs chief also reported that they have accepted the proposal of Oilink to pay P115.5 million in additional duties and taxes, including eight times maximum penalties and surcharges for a shipment in 2004.