THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) and various shipping and port-related businesses are expected to lose millions of pesos after some 3,000 Customs brokers announced that they will stage an “import holiday” beginning on Thursday to protest the government’s strict rules in securing an accreditation.
However, the Department of Finance (DOF) has remained steadfast as it issued a warning to automatically cancel the accreditation of brokers and importers who will fail to meet the deadline for application of accreditation set on June 30.
Based on DOF’s Department Order (DO) 33-2014, failure to file an application with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the BOC on or before the June 30 deadline will lead to an automatic cancellation of their accreditation.
The order is only applicable to those importers and brokers who have valid and existing accreditations which were granted without obtaining the required importer clearance certificates (ICC) or broker clearance certificates (BCC) from the BIR.
Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 11-2014 allows for temporary accreditation with the BOC for importers and brokers who have applied for, but yet to receive, their ICC or BCC with the BIR.
Based on the CMO, it is only when the BIR denies the issuance of the ICC or BCC, that the BOC-Account Management Office cancels the same in the agency’s Client Profile Registration System from the date of denial.
Brokers belonging to the Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Professional Customs Brokers Association, the National Confederation of Customs Brokers and the Aduana Business Club are expected to participate in the “import holiday.”
“What we want is the reconsideration of concerned government agencies because the requirements are not that easy,” Mary Zapata, president of the ABC said.
Zapata said the application period for accreditation is not enough for brokers and importers and they need more time to comply.
“Everybody wants compliance but the problem are the requirements. Not even one-fourth (of the importers and brokers) were able to comply,” she said.
Customs Spokesman Charo Logarta-Lagamon admitted that the planned holiday would disrupt not only the BOC but the operations of other businesses as well.
“It’s not only the BOC that will suffer but their importers, so we are appealing to them to reconsider their plan,” Lagamon said.
Lagamon admitted that the BOC is also likely to suffer in terms of revenue once the holiday pushes through.
She noted that when the truckers staged a strike several months ago, the BOC lost more than P150 million in income in just a single day.
But Lagamon insisted that the customs brokers were given enough time time to comply with the requirements stipulated in the DOF memorandum.
She noted that the memorandum was issued late December of last year and the brokers and importers had six months to comply.
“It is just an accreditation. The point of the accreditation is to synergize the records of the BIR and the BOC so we could check and strengthen the monitoring and audit and ensure that the government is collecting the correct duties and taxes. It is just for monitoring,” said Lagamon.
Through the accreditation, the BIR would be able to monitor the tax payments of the Customs brokers. There are reports that some customs brokers are into the habit of under declaring their professional fees in order to pay less taxes.
Lagamon noted that 7,416 out of 25,000 importers and brokers have so far applied for accreditation.
Written by Joel R. San Juan, Dave Cahagastian