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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Corruption-plagued DOF unit scrapped; now under BIR, Customs

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FINANCE Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno lauded the abolition of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center, which he said has been a nest of corruption within the Department of Finance (DOF).

“The operations of the OSS Center, which had been plagued by corruption allegations over the years and had been defunct since 2016, is now rightfully under the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC),” Diokno was quoted in a statement as saying. “This will streamline revenue operations and reduce administrative expenses.”

“It is also important to note that the OSS Center has not processed and issued any tax credit certificates since 2016. It is not practical for the government to provide for its budget every year since it does not perform its functions anymore,” Diokno said.

The DOF said tax credits are credits against taxes and/or duties equal to those actually paid or would have been paid to evidence which tax credit certificate (TCC) shall be issued by the Finance Secretary or their duly authorized representative.

Meanwhile, duty drawback refers to the refund or credit of duties, and may include internal revenue taxes actually paid for importation, in whole or in part.

AO 4

IT was in 1994 when the OSS Center was made a permanent unit of the DOF. According to the DOF chief, some OSS Center officials and employees have been found to have committed several tax credit scams involving billions of pesos over the years.

It was Diokno who recommended last year to President Ferdinand R. Marcos to abolish the OSS Center “for purposes of institutional strengthening and to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the delivery of public services.”

Last Monday, Marcos issued through Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin Administrative Order (AO) 4 sealing the fate of the OSS Center.

The DOF is required to fully enforce the abolition within 90 working days upon the effectivity of AO 4 “including the disposition and transfer of the OSS Center’s functions, personnel and assets as may be necessary.”

Under AO 4, the OSS Center’s functions of processing and issuing tax clearance certificates (TCCs) and duty drawbacks will be transferred to the BIR and the BOC, respectively.

AO 4 also ordered that all cash separately held in trust or otherwise by the OSS Center directly remitted to the National Treasury.

The displaced OSS Center personnel will “receive separation benefits… unless they are appointed to other positions in the government.”

The OSS Center was created after then President Corazon C. Aquino issued AO 266, which mandated the “orderly and expeditious processing of tax credits and duty drawbacks under various laws.”

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