Home » Customs & Trade » Shell slapped with P24.5-B tax case

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) last week filed a P24.5-billion tax evasion case against Pilipinas Shell.

Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez said there was “intentional misclassification and misdeclaration” of various Pilipinas Shell petroleum imports from 2004 to 2009 to avoid payment of excise duties and value-added taxes.

The case filed before the Department of Justice is separate from the P7.3-billion tax collection case pending before the Court of Tax Appeals.

Named respondents were Nigel T. Avila, Pilipinas Shell country tax manager; Brian Khriz Acosta, Carolyn A. Francisco, Ma. Cristina Rago, and Janice delos Reyes, Pilipinas Shell employees; Diosdado G. Bagon, Jorge T. Pascual, Jr., and Mary Grace M. Maleon, customs brokers; and several John Does/ Jane Does, among them customs employees.

Case records revealed that in 52 import entries filed in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the company intentionally misclassified shipments of unleaded gasoline as tetrapropylene, which is not subject to excise tax.

Alvarez said this deprived government of excise and value-added taxes estimated at P2.5 billion.

Imports between August 2005 and December 2008 were also misdeclared as catalytic cracked gasoline or lights catalytic cracked gasoline when invoices issued by Shell International Eastern Trading Company as well as documents provided by shipping companies described the shipments as containing unleaded premium gasoline, which comes with a higher tax.

The misdeclaration cost the government P385.8 million, BOC said.

For the twin acts of misclassification and misdeclaration, the government lost about P2.7 billion.

Under Section 3611 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, fraudulent acts and practices could come with a surcharge of as much as 800% or equivalent to P21.8 billion in the Pilipinas Shell case.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima over the weekend said her department was considering issuing a hold-departure order against officials of Pilipinas Shell.

“In fact, the Bureau of Immigration is working on it (issuance of a watch list). If there is a case, then it will be converted into a hold-departure-order list,” De Lima said.

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