Beware of the proliferation of fake cigarets.
Cigaret counterfeiters and smugglers are now creeping into Bacolod City as shown by more reports of fake cigarettes with fake tax stamps being sold openly in several stores coming up.
The warning came from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, after the recent confiscation of several boxes of counterfeit Marlboro, Jackpot, Camel and Marvels cigarette brands.
Police investigations show cigaret counterfeiters were also monitored to be targeting sari-sari stores outside Bacolod City, to escape scrutiny, with fake cigarets mixed with genuine ones.
CIDG also received reports that some tourists have already been victimized by the proliferation of fake cigarets in Bacolod City.
The PNP is also looking into a big and well-funded syndicate that could be supplying the fake cigarets.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has warned traders, storeowners and even the public against buying and selling cigarets bearing counterfeit tax stamps since this robs government of much-needed taxes and victimizes consumers with inferior products.
To address the proliferation of fake cigarets, the BIR has issued Revenue Memorandum Circular 51-2016 launching the free downloadable Stamp Tax Verifier App.
Through the use of a smart phone, the Stamp Tax Verifier App will scan if the Serial Code on the cigarette stamp is “VALID or INVALID”, that will determine what product is genuine or smuggled-counterfeit.
The same circular also enjoined the public to help the government track down fake or smuggled cigarets.
The Stamp App complements BIR Revenue Regulation 7-2014, issued last year, “requiring all local manufacturers and importers of tobacco to put internal revenue stamps on their cigaret products.”
The World Bank, in its latest review on the impact of Sin Tax law, has recommended that the new government “ensure the continued success of the tax stamp system coupled by the enhanced oversight of the tobacco industry.”*GPB
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