Cusi on fuel excise tax implementation: Cooperate, don’t violate

TAGUIG CITY – Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi emphasized the urgent need for all petroleum retail outlets to heed the implementing guidelines on the second tranche of fuel excise tax, or face closure.

“The Secretary has been very clear – cooperate, don’t violate. We have been actively explaining and clarifying the implementation process for this second tranche. Dahil klaro ang lahat, mas mainam na tayo’y sumunod kaysa naman kapapasok pa lang ng bagong taon, isasara tayo,” DOE Spokesperson Felix William B. Fuentebella said in a press briefing held January 7 at the agency’s headquarters.

(Given that everything is clear it is better that we follow rather than close down at the start of the new year.)

Oil Industry Management Bureau OIC-Director Rino E. Abad and Assistant Director Rodela I. Romero further explained that since last year, the DOE has undertaken steps to ensure the stringent monitoring of inventories in anticipation of the second tranche’s implementation.

A DOE directive dated September 11, 2018 required oil companies to submit per-depot and per-product ending inventory reports as of 31 December 2018 and daily withdrawal reports of such ending inventories starting January 1, 2019 until its full exhaustion. This ensures that the first tranche of excise tax will continue to be imposed on the 2018 ending inventories, while the second tranche of excise tax shall be imposed only on new inventories imported or produced from local refineries in 2019.

In addition, oil firms were also required to submit a notarized Year-End Inventory Report (as of December 31, 2018) covering petroleum products with the old excise tax rate. Said reports are to be submitted by January 8, 2019 in time for the submission of the Official Registry Book to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“These will help the DOE validate the exhaustion of old inventories. We also requested for Last Withdrawal Certificates stamped by the BIR as ‘Stocks On-Hand Prior to Applicable Date of Effectivity’. These would indicate the last removals of petroleum products subject to the old tax rates. On the other hand, the First Withdrawal Certificates with no BIR stamp would indicate the first removals of petroleum products with the new excise tax rate,” Asst. Dir. Romero expounded.

On violations, Director Abad stressed that aside from breaching tax laws, violators may also face criminal charges, particularly estafa.

Other measures being carried out by the Department include the inspection of retail outlets that already implemented the new excise tax, and the issuance of Show-Cause Orders to give concerned retail outlets the opportunity to explain.

USec. Fuentebella emphasized that “Consumers need to be aware. The DOE asked retailers to display notices of the additional excise tax implementation in a one-meter by one-meter tarpaulin for transparency. This would empower the consumers with the ability to choose where to buy fuel.”

He added, “Do I go ahead and buy from this station already implementing the new excise tax, or do I gas up somewhere else? This is another exercise in consumer empowerment.”

The DOE continues to assure the public that it is closely monitoring the fair implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“We are watching closely and coordinating with the BIR and the Bureau of Customs to ensure accurate data reporting and monitoring. As Secretary Cusi said earlier, we should recognize the value of proper tax remittance. The revenue collected by the government will finance the establishment of key infrastructure, provide educational assistance, as well as other forms of poverty alleviation for our people,” the Energy Undersecretary asserted. (DOE)