Shell fully pays back taxes under protest

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Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) has fully settled with the Bureau of Customs its Php3.49 billion in back taxes, according to Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III.

Dominguez, in a BusinessWorld report, said that Shell paid the Php1.77 billion balance on Thursday (January 6), four days ahead of its January 10 deadline. The multinational oil giant had paid the initial installment just after Christmas.

Shell had agreed to remit its allegedly unpaid taxes on alkylate imports shipped from 2014 to 2016, but said it would do so “under protest.” The oil firm had argued that the courts have yet to decide whether or not alkylate is subject to excise tax.

In a letter to PSPC President Lorelie Osial, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said Shell’s accreditation could be suspended if it fails to pay the back taxes.

Guerrero said, though, the potential suspension is not a threat, but rather a “proper recourse” that can be taken by Customs after the Supreme Court lifted the temporary restraining order that had hindered the government from collecting the taxes.