BIR calls proposal on smuggling ‘premature’

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is freezing any action on the proposal of Chinese firm Huagong Tech Company to provide hologram-aided stamp tax that would curb smuggling of cigarette products.

BIR commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares said Huagong’s proposal is premature since the revenue agency has yet to get a greenlight from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“My initial reaction is that it’s premature to think of anything because of the DOJ ruling. I can’t do anything,” BIR chief Kim Jacinto-Henares said.

Henares said any recommendation involving a proponent would be premature.

She said the revenue agency would await the decision of the DOJ on their motion for reconsideration.

“We’re waiting for the DOJ ruling,” Henares said.

The DOJ has barred the BIR from pursuing negotiations with an earlier technology proponent, Swiss firm SICPA Product Security SA, citing constitutional issues.

Henares nevertheless admitted giving an audience to Huagong officials who presented their hologram technology.

The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier said it’s up to the BIR to evaluate the proposal of Huagong Tech Co.

Huagong is erecting a challenge to the similar unsolicited offer of tobacco giant Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) to install CODENTIFY, a cutting-edge technology solution that also promises to curb smuggling of cigarettes.

Huagong is from the Wuhan province of China and has developed a hologram-aided stamp tax technology that could not be counterfeited.

Batangas Rep. Tom Apacible, a member of the House ways and means committee, said Huagong promises to provide a technology at a price much lower than the 62-centavo per pack proposal of  SICPA. Dino Ng

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