BIR seizes P5.4 billion worth of illicit cigarette in Cavite

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has executed one of its largest operations against illicit cigarette traders in Cavite.

On March 21, 2024, the agency raided three warehouses/factories in Indang and Dasmariñas, uncovering an estimated tax liability of a staggering P5.4 billion.

This massive operation highlights the government’s intensified efforts to combat tax evasion and protect legitimate businesses in the tobacco industry.

BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui Jr. detailed the raid’s success, emphasizing the substantial tax liability uncovered.

“This is one of the largest raids against illicit cigarettes in the history of the BIR, having an estimate of P5.4 Billion in total tax liability. We will continue targeting these large-scale illicit cigarette traders,” Lumagui stated.

He further encouraged operators within the cigarette industry to comply with the law by registering their operations and paying the proper excise taxes to ensure a level playing field for all businesses.

The raid resulted in the seizure of master cases of cigarettes, machinery, sacks of raw tobacco, and counterfeit internal revenue stamps. These findings underscore the sophisticated nature of the illegal operations targeted by the BIR.

Perpetrators behind these illicit operations face severe penalties, including criminal and civil cases under various sections of the National Internal Revenue Code.

These include violations related to the non-payment of excise taxes on domestic and imported products, unlawful possession of cigarette-related materials, and the sale of tobacco products at prices lower than what is mandated by the combined excise and value-added taxes.

Commissioner Lumagui’s statement reflects the BIR’s determination to pursue illegal operations of any scale. “Hindi aatras ang BIR kahit malalaking warehouse o pabrika ng ilegal na sigarilyo pa ang kailangan namin pasukin,” he affirmed.