Home » 3PL/4PL, Breaking News, Customs & Trade, Exclusives, Ports/Terminals » BOC post-clearance audit group on track to hit P4B target

Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, Bureau of Customs assistant commissioner and head of the Post Clearance Audit Group (PCAG), giving an update on PCAG initiatives at the recent Tax Issues for Importers seminar organized by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade at the Makati Shangri-La.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Post-Clearance Audit Group (PCAG) has collected more than half of its P4-billion target this year from importers availing of the Prior Disclosure Program (PDP), according to assistant commissioner and PCAG head Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla.

From February to the first week of September, PCAG took in P2.03 billion, according to Maronilla in a presentation during the “Tax Issues for Importers” seminar on September 5 organized by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade at the Makati Shangri-La.

Under Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 01-2019–which implements the post-clearance audit function and PDP of BOC pursuant to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA)—the PCAG may conduct an audit within three years from the date of final payment of duties and taxes or customs clearance. Prior to the start of the audit, the Customs Commissioner must issue an Audit Notification Letter (ANL) to the importer identified for the audit. During audit proper, the importer may avail of the PDP, and the audit investigation may be deferred.

The post-clearance audit function, formerly called post-entry audit, reverted to the BOC in 2016 after it was transferred to the Department of Finance in 2014.

Since January 2019, Maronilla said 186 companies have been issued ANLs.

Packed house at the recent Tax Issues for Importers seminar organized by PortCalls and Asia Customs & Trade at the Makati Shangri-La.

Of the total , 31 were issued in January and comes under old post-entry audit rules, while the 155 were issued ANLs in February under CAO 01-2019 issued last January.

Maronilla said of the 186 issued with ANLs, 15 have been recommended for suspension, most either for failing to provide PCAG with the required documents, or were found that their offices no longer exist.

A total of 57 availed of the PDP while 115 are undergoing audit proper.

Eye on rice importers

Moving forward, Maronilla said PCAG has already profiled 121 importers for issuance of additional ANLs, of which 59 are from the agricultural industry, specifically rice importers; 20 firms are for value verification check; 14 firms are from the pharmaceutical industry; and 28 from the telecommunications industry.

Maronilla said his group has received instruction to audit rice importers in line with the implementation of the new Rice Tariffication Law, while the inclusion of pharmaceutical companies was because PCAG’s profiling showed the sector is “very heavy on royalties” and many have actually availed of PDPs.

Further, the BOC executive said Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero had instructed the re-establishment of the Transaction Audit Division, which will be responsible for audits that will be transaction-based.

Maronilla said this is “in line with the thrust of the bureau to actually in the future go through a full post-clearance audit regime instead of the current regime right now which a lot of times actually conflict with trade facilitation component of our programs.”

He noted this is being done in other customs administrations where majority of shipments pass customs jurisdictions quickly since they already have robust risk management systems and can go after erring companies through post-clearance audit.

On track

Maronilla expressed confidence that PCAG will hit its internal target of P4 billion this year as it focuses on finalizing audit of companies served with ANLs in January and February.

He noted that the P2.030-billion collection is already more than the P950 million earned by the previous Post-Entry Audit Group in 2007.

Earlier, Maronilla said many companies issued with ANLs will have to pay penalties, but that “surprisingly, there are a lot also who were compliant.”

He emphasized that PCAG will not just punish the non-compliant, but reward compliant companies with certificates of recognition.

He said most compliant companies in the first audit batch were big firms as they usually “exercise diligence measures.” – Roumina Pablo

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