DOF processes 254 tax-exemption applications for COVID vaccine imports in 2021

The Revenue Office (RO) of the Department of Finance (DOF) has processed a total of 254 applications for tax and duty exemptions amounting to about P8.7 billion on COVID-19 vaccine imports as of end-December 2021.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF’s Revenue Operations Group (ROG), headed by Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, said these 254 approved applications issued Tax Exemption Indorsements (TEIs) were from the total of 276 such requests that were received from vaccine importers by the office last year.

The foregone revenues from these TEIs of P8.699 billion represent 37 percent of the P23.4 billion of the total tax and duty exemptions processed by the ROG last year, DOF Assistant Secretary Dakila Elteen Napao of the ROG said in his report.

“Estimated foregone revenue is returning to its pre-pandemic figure of P23.9 billion in 2019. However, this is primarily due to the foregone revenue attributable to importations of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as importations of items related to COVID-19 response,” Napao said.

Dominguez earlier approved the inclusion of all importations of COVID-19 vaccines in the “Mabuhay” or express lane of the RO to allow the quick processing within 24 hours of the tax and duty exemptions of these vital shipments.

He had also approved the waiving of filing fees for COVID-19 vaccine applications under the Mabuhay Lane and the use of the Tax Exemption System (TES) Online Filing Module in processing the vaccine imports to further support the government’s speedy rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Napao said the RO also issued TEIs to 823 applications for value-added tax (VAT) exemptions on imports of COVID-19 medicines and medical devices, which resulted in foregone VAT revenues of P382.1 million in 2021.

Meanwhile, the Financial Analytics and Intelligence Unit (FAI), which is also under the ROG, approved P211 million-worth of tax refunds referred to the DOF by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last year.

The FAI was institutionalized under Executive Order (EO) No. 46 to serve as the data analytics unit of the DOF for purposes of revenue management and to review matters that may be deemed fiscally adverse to the government, including those elevated by agencies, bureaus and offices attached to DOF for the approval and conformity of the Secretary of Finance, among other key functions.