Color-plated cars in ecozones pushed
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance (DOF) has asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to draft a policy requiring vehicles in economic zones to use different colored license plates.
The move aims to improve tax compliance and prevent parties from using the country’s special economic zones as a channel to smuggle vehicles, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said on Monday, February 18.
Locators in the country’s ecozones were previously allowed to import vehicles tax-free for their own use, but are banned from using these vehicles outside of ecozones. This is part of the perks given to locators in ecozones to encourage investments.
However, the Finance department has noted a discrepancy in the number of imported vehicles registered under the special registration category and the number of registrations in all classifications and types of cars from 2010 to 2012, implying that tax-exempt vehicles were sold outside economic zones in Luzon.
The department has also received reports of importers selling imported tax-free motor vehicles to parties outside ecozones, abusing the tax exemption provision for Freeport zones.
Purisima said that with differently colored license plates, it would become much easier to determine which cars have been imported duty-free through the Ecozones and restrict their use outside these locations.
“We cannot have a level, competitive playing field if we do not strictly enforce the rules for everyone, even locators in ecozones. The new plates will keep our cars driving along Daang Matuwid,” Purisima said.
Land Transportation Office data shows a decline in the number of imported motor vehicles registered under the category of special registration or tax-exempt vehicles to 28,952 in 2012 from 36,737 in 2010.
Majority of the motor vehicles come from Region III, which decreased to 16,941 in 2012 from 19,619 in 2010.
However, this drop in the LTO specially registered cars does not follow the trend of continued increase of registrations in all classifications and types of cars from 2010 to 2012, which implies that registered tax exempt vehicles have been sold outside Freeport zones in Central Luzon, the Finance department said.
In January 2013, the Supreme Court 2nd Division reinstated a decision of the Aparri Regional Court which upheld Executive Order 156. The EO, signed in 2002 by then President Gloria-Macapagal-Arroyo banned the importation of used cars in ecozones.
The Bureau of Customs has been instructed not to process vehicle importation in ecozones, pending the finality of the Supreme Court decision, Purisima said. - Rappler.com