JTI payments boost tobacco tax collection

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    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) surpassed its February 2021 target for tobacco excise tax collections, amid an increase in tax payments made by cigarette firm Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Philippines Inc.

    The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement over the weekend based on preliminary data, total tobacco excise tax revenues from February 1 to 18 amounted to P17.57 billion, exceeding the full month goal of P16.85 billion by 4.28 percent.

    The collection in tobacco excise taxes as of February 18 is also 109.85 percent more than the P8.37 billion collected in February 2020.

    JTI ’s plant in Lima, Batangas is in full operation which led to higher collection this month, according to  Arnel Guballa, BIR deputy commissioner, in a recent DOF executive committee meeting. said JTI, whose plant in Lima, Batangas now fully operational paid taxes of P10.94 billion, overtaking Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Co. as the top tobacco excise taxpayer for the first 18 days of February. JTI’s remittance accounted for 62 percent of the total collection for the covered period.

    JTI Philippines’ February tax payment is also 108 percent more than the P5.25 billion it paid in January 2021, Guballa said.

    Cumulatively, tobacco excise tax collection for January 1 to February 18 amounted to P29.1 billion, 73.53 percent higher than the P16.77 billion collected for the first two months of the previous year.

    Meanwhile, in a separate statement over the weekend, JTI called for greater international and national collaboration between governments, law enforcement agencies and industry across Asia to stem the tide of illegal tobacco caused by excessive increases in tobacco duty.

    At the Economist Asia Trade Week summit , JTI also called on policy makers to do more to incentivize responsible behavior by adopting long-term and balanced tax policies, including moderate and predictable tax increases, which best meet governments’ objectives to raise stable tax revenues and prevent market disruptions.