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The new rules would

Initial discussions at the Department of Finance indicate a four-month provisional authority being granted to new importers in the Philippines.

The Department of Finance (DOF) will soon release an order allowing the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to grant new importers a provisional accreditation that will allow them to import while they work on their accreditation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

New accreditation rules issued by DOF in February mandate a two-step process in which importers and customs brokers must first secure an importer clearance certificate (ICC) or broker clearance certificate (BCC) from the BIR before filing for BOC accreditation. The accreditation deadline lapsed on July 31.

A PortCalls source from the BOC said initial discussions with the DOF indicate that the provisional authority could cover four months. Once an importer brings in goods using the provisional authority, he can then apply for an ICC with the BIR.

The source said the DOF order may also require a paid-up capital of P1 million for new importers; single proprietorships may also no longer be given accreditation. The source said the potential new equity requirement is justified considering many importers bring in goods with duties valued in the millions, making the extra capital requirement a non issue.

Importers denied accreditation by the BIR but had been previously registered under BOC’s Client Profile Registration System could be allowed to import under the soon-to-be released DOF order, the source said, as long as the transaction is considered “first and last”, meaning the importation is for one time only – presumably until such time when an accreditation from the BIR is secured.

The DOF order is meant to address BIR’s outright denial of accreditation among new importers.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, in a July 23 memo to BIR-Accounts Receivables Monitoring Division (BIR-ARMD) chief Rosana San Vicente, ordered the denial of application of newly registered taxpayers not on the BOC’s list of accredited importers and brokers as of February 2014.

Henares said new importers may only re-file their application after completing a single importation with the BOC. Furthermore, re-filing will be allowed only after three months from denial of their application and after showing proof of already being a regular user of BIR’s Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS) and being a compliant taxpayer in accordance with BIR Memorandum Order No. 10-2014. BIR RMO No. 10-2014 prescribes the guidelines for accreditation and revocation of accreditation of importers and customs brokers.

“This requirement is anchored on the principle that BIR clearance for accreditation as importer or broker can only be issued based on the taxpayer’s record of performance with respect to the level of tax compliance,” Henares said in the memo.

For importers previously not covered by accreditation requirements of the BOC (not included in the February 2014 list provided by the BOC, such as taxpayers registered with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Philippine Economic Zone Authority), Henares said they may only be issued a BIR ICC “if in addition to the other compliance requirements, they are already regular users of the eFPS. Considering that they were already mandated to use the said system in filing their tax returns and paying the taxes due thereon through the said facility since 2010 pursuant to Revenue Regulation 1-2010, outright denial of the application must be made for non-compliance therefore. It is further informed that issuance of provisional BIR ICC for taxpayers under this is sector prohibited.”

Meanwhile, not all importers and brokers were able to meet the July 31 deadline for accreditation application.

Charo Logarta-Lagamon, chief of BOC-public information and assistance division, told PortCalls in a text message there were about 8,600 importers and brokers that applied for accreditation with BOC as of July 30. This represents only 57.4% of the 14,995 importers and brokers in the BOC database.

Atty Jemina Sy-Flores, head of BOC’s Accounts Management Office, separately told PortCalls they are still collating the actual number of applicants that were able to apply within the deadline.

It is not clear if the soon-to-be released DOF memo will provide rules for existing taxpayers that altogether missed the deadline for BIR accreditation. — Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

11 Responses to “DOF set to issue provisional accreditation for new PH importers”

  1. Based on this article, single proprietorship will not be accredited. How about those like us that have small capital? Can’t we establish a sole proprietorship for importation that would start small and not with the 1 Million paid up capital? Why do they need to deny first time importers? How about those new importers who were already accredited from both BIR and BOC? Instead of denying and revoking, they should instead monitor their tax compliance.

    Is the government limiting business opportunities only to big corporations and omitting small businessmen like us?

    Reply
    • Liza Almonte August 5, 2014

      Hi Debbie. Kindly note that the equity capital requirement and the ban on single proprietorships for new importers, at this point, are proposals only. It remains to be seen whether these will actually be implemented by the DOF.

      We’re hoping if they do adopt such measures, some concessions will be given for smaller scale companies, especially for those whose importations are not that regular.

      Reply
  2. Hi Ms. Liza, what if our company Importation permit had already lapsed last April,2014 and now we processed our BIR-ICC last July 30, 2014 and waiting for the release of our Certificate, can we still renew our BOC-AMO after we received our BIR-ICC even if we did not meet the deadline which is July 31?

    Reply
    • Liza Almonte September 1, 2014

      Since you seem to have missed the July 31 deadline for application at the BOC, you may still apply with the agency but you may only do so if you already have the ACTUAL ICC accreditation from the BIR (not just proof of application, which was allowed but only until July 31).

      Reply
  3. Thank you for your feedback Ms. Liza. I really think its actually unfair if they implement immediate denial and revocation for new importers. This is the first time this happened in this business.
    After giving Provisional Clearance or Full BIR-ICC to new importers, their next step should be “to monitor tax compliance” and not denial and revocation because these importers also went through the hard process of accreditation which they actually set in the first place.
    I really hope that the smart executives of DOF realize this fact and will not allow BIR to do this. I am sure a lot of new importers will be enraged because of this just like what you mentioned.

    Reply
  4. hello miss liza,
    may i know a contact info which i can ask or inquire about the four month provisional authority for new importers… or if you can give me any information about this or updates, it will be of big help. thanks.

    Reply
    • Liza Almonte October 22, 2014

      For inquiries, try to call this number 924-15-52. That’s the Office of the Accounts Receivable Monitoring Division of the BIR in charge of processing and approving the importer clearance certificate and broker clearance certificate.

      We publish updates as they come so you may want to check out portcalls.com regularly.

      Reply

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