Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) yesterday said sugar industry stakeholders are better off filing a unified suit in court to prevent the Bureau of Internal Revenue from imposing the Expanded Value Added Tax on raw sugar.
“It is useless to talk to her (BIR Commissioner Kim Henares) at this point, we are better off going to court to prove our point,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Negros Occidental Provincial Development Council passed a resolution yesterday afternoon opposing the revised revenue regulation of the BIR placing raw sugar under VAT coverage, which will be forwarded to the SP for adoption, Rafael Coscolluela, president of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations, said.
Coscolluela explained that the new BIR regulation would have very serious implications for the economy of Negros and other sugar-producing areas. If this happens, most of our planters might decide to abandon planting sugar altogether, he said.
“We are trying to survive and prepare for 2015…we are trying to look for ways to bring down our cost to improve our competitiveness; our government is trying to look for ways to make more money out of us”, Coscolluela said at the PDC meeting.
Benitez said he is also mulling the filing of a resolution in aid of legislation urging the BIR not to issue new revenue orders that will unduly burden consumers until Congress can rationalize tax laws.
We will ask for a status quo, he said.
Benitez said he spoke to Henares for an hour when he met her at a budget meeting at the Office of the President.
Her contention is that what we call raw sugar is really brown sugar that is technically refined sugar colored brown, and therefore, must be covered by VAT, Benitez said.
Henares said that the way the law is written, products that have only undergone a simple process are exempted from VAT, and that raw or brown sugar undergoes a complicated process that, under the law, must be taxed, Benitez added.*CPG