By Job Manahan, February 22, 2023; ABS-CBN News

DOF chief: scams were committed by center’s officials, employees ‘over the years’

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has signed an administrative order abolishing the Department of Finance’s “one-stop shop” tax center as part of his administration’s “rightsizing.”

Administrative Order No. 4 transferred the processing and issuing of tax clearance certificates to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, while duty drawbacks were transferred to the Bureau of Customs.

The One-Stop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center’s records and documents will be transferred to the two agencies. All cash remitted to the center will be transferred to the National Treasury, based on the order.

The Presidential Communications Office said it was Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno who recommended its abolition to President Marcos after finding out it was a hotspot for corruption.

“First, some OSS Center officials and employees have been found to have committed a series of several tax credit scams involving billions of pesos over the years,” Diokno said.

“Second, its abolition and transfer of functions under the BIR and the BOC are in line with the Marcos Jr. administration’s push to right-size government. This will streamline revenue operations and reduce administrative expenses,” Diokno added.

Aside from these, he said the OSS center has not 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,” he said.

Government employees who will lose their jobs in the process will be given their separation pay and other benefits unless they get transferred to a different government office.

The center was created in 1992 for the “expeditious” processing of tax credits and duty drawbacks.

The administrative order was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Feb. 20 but was only released to the media on Wednesday. It will take effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette.

Within 90 days upon the effectivity of the law, the finance secretary “shall fully implement the abolition, including the disposition and transfer of the OSS Center’s functions, personnel and assets as may be necessary,” the order read.