PURSUANT to Department of Finance (DOF) Department Order 012-2014 that provided for two phases in the accreditation process, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued in February Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) 010-14, which defined the policies and guidelines in the accreditation of importers and customs brokers. The BIR’s issuance of an importer-clearance or customs-broker certificate shall be required for applicants desiring to register with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as importers or brokers. Recently the BIR issued RMO 33-2014, which amended the previously issued policies and guidelines.
Under these RMOs, individuals, corporations, partnerships and associations may apply for a clearance certificate with the BIR. Generally, the application must be made in person. However, if an individual applicant has a severe medical condition, he or she may apply through a representative. The only requirement is that the applicant’s appointed “attorney in fact” must have a duly notarized “special power of attorney” and a medical certificate issued by the attending physician under oath that is endorsed by any government physician.
In the case of a corporation, an authorized officer may apply. This officer shall be any of those listed in the corporation’s latest general information sheet (GIS) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the event, however, that the board authorized a person other than those indicated in the GIS, that person must execute a sworn statement that he or she shall, likewise, be jointly or severally liable or responsible in the event that problems emerge with the filed application. The authorization must be supported by a board resolution.
Applicants that are newly registered with the BIR or were never accredited, either as importers or brokers, are required to submit printer’s delivery receipts and proof of having filed tax returns through the BIR’s electronic filing-and-payment system for at least two consecutive months. This is to ensure that the applicants are not delinquent taxpayers.
Not all applicants may be accredited, though. To be accredited, an applicant must comply with the following: 1) present, at all times, at the head office or principal place of business for the conduct of business operations, 2) compliant with all the primary and secondary registration requirements of the BIR; 3) no “stop-filer” cases with the BIR or timely filing of the required tax returns and payment of the taxes due under existing internal-revenue tax laws, rules, regulations and issuances; 4) no record of any account receivable or delinquent account with the BIR; 5) no record of any pending criminal complaint filed by the BIR for tax evasion and other criminal offenses under the Tax Code, whether filed in court or with the Department of Justice or subject of the final and executory judgment by the court; 6) no unresolved issues arising from discrepancies in the declared income or expenses resulting from the matching of third-party information from the BIR’s Reconciliation Lists for Enforcement System and Tax Reconciliation System, and not tagged as a cannot-be-located taxpayer; and 7) no material misrepresentation in the documents submitted in applying for accreditation.
The list of qualified importers and customs brokers shall be posted on the BIR website and shall be sent through e-mail to the BOC’s Accounts Management Office. This list shall serve as the BOC’s reference in processing their respective accreditations, in lieu of the hard copy of the certificate itself.
In case of denied applications, a request for reconsideration shall be filed with the Office of the Assistant Commissioner-Collection Service by filing a letter, together with pertinent documents as proofs of tax compliance, as certified by the office that has jurisdiction over the taxpayer’s registered address.
The experience within this short period of the implementation of the new accreditation process proved to be burdensome. While we support all efforts to reform and improve the importation system in the country, we hope that the agencies concerned would consider revisiting and relaxing the rules.
The author is a senior associate of Du-Baladad and Associates Law Offices, a member-firm of the World Tax Services Alliance.
The article is for general information only, and is neither intended nor should be construed as a substitute for tax, legal or financial advice on any specific matter. Applicability of this article to any actual or particular tax or legal issue should be supported, therefore, by a professional study or advice. For comments or questions about the article, e-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-2001, local 370.