Starting March 1, the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has stopped accepting applications for importer’s and customs broker’s clearance certificates following a Department of Finance (DOF) order that returns to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) the sole authority to accredit such entities and individuals.
BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, in an advisory issued on February 26, advised importers and customs brokers to coordinate with BOC for their accreditation.
The BIR advisory came after DOF issued Department Order (DO) No. 11-2018 dated February 9, which states that the “authority to accredit and register customs brokers and importers is reverted solely to the Bureau of Customs for purposes of simplification of process”, pursuant to Section 1200 of Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
DOF is the mother agency of BIR and BOC.
The previous process had required a two-step accreditation—first with BIR to get an importer’s clearance certificate or a broker’s clearance certificate, and then with BOC.
DO 11-2018 also mandates that BOC transmit to BIR every quarter the list of approved/accredited customs brokers and importers for post-accreditation validation of tax compliance.
“In case of any findings of tax deficiency or non-compliance, the BIR must notify the BOC of such findings,” DO 11-2018 notes.
DO 11-2018 repeals DOs 12-2014 and 18-2014, both issued in 2014, which mandated the two-step accreditation.
The change in the accreditation process four years ago was meant to weed out non-complying importers and customs brokers and minimize smuggling. However, it was met with much opposition from stakeholders, especially during the first months of implementation amid delays and confusion about the new process, as well as concern with the many requirements needed to secure a clearance certificate from BIR.
DO 11-2018 also repeals or modifies inconsistent orders, circulars, memoranda, and other issuances. BOC and BIR will soon issue relevant orders and administrative issuances necessary to enforce DO 11-2018.
On February 15, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña issued Customs Memorandum Circular 38-2018 addressed to deputy commissioners, directors and division chiefs, district/port collectors, chief of the Account Management Office, and other concerned personnel, informing them of DO 11-2018. – Roumina Pablo
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