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[Tax Reform Act of 1997]
Republic Act No. 8424

SEC. 144. Tobacco Products. - There shall be collected a tax of seventy-five centavos (P0.75) on each kilogram of the following products of tobacco:

Fine-cut shorts and refuse, scraps, clippings, cuttings, stems and sweepings of tobacco resulting from the handling or stripping of whole leaf tobacco may be transferred, disposed of, or otherwise sold, without prepayment of the excise tax herein provided for under such conditions as may be prescribed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner, if the same are to be exported or to be used in the manufacture of other tobacco products on which the excise tax will eventually be paid on the finished product.

On tobacco specially prepared for chewing so as to be unsuitable for use in any other manner, on each kilogram, Sixty centavos (P0.60).
SEC. 145. Cigars and Cigarettes. - 

(A) Cigars. - There shall be levied, assessed and collected on cigars a tax of One peso (P1.00) per cigar.

(B) Cigarettes Packed by Hand. - There shall be levied, assessed and collected on cigarettes packed by hand a tax of Forty centavos (P0.40) per pack.

(C) Cigarettes Packed by Machine. - There shall be levied, assessed and collected on cigarettes packed by machine a tax at the rates prescribed below:

Variants of existing brands of cigarettes which are introduced in the domestic market after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8240 shall be taxed under the highest classification of any variant of that brand.

The excise tax from any brand of cigarettes within the next three (3) years from the effectivity of R. A. No. 8240 shall not be lower than the tax, which is due from each brand on October 1, 1996: Provided, however, That in cases where the excise tax rates imposed in paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereinabove will result in an increase in excise tax of more than seventy percent (70%); for a brand of cigarette, the increase shall take effect in two tranches: fifty percent (50%) of the increase shall be effective in 1997 and one hundred percent (100%) of the increase shall be effective in 1998.

Duly registered or existing brands of cigarettes or new brands thereof packed by machine shall only be packed in twenties.

The rates of excise tax on cigars and cigarettes under paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, shall be increased by twelve percent (12%) on January 1, 2000.

New brands shall be classified according to their current net retail price.

For the above purpose, "net retail price" shall mean the price at which the cigarette is sold on retail in twenty (20) major supermarkets in Metro Manila (for brands of cigarettes marketed nationally), excluding the amount intended to cover the applicable excise tax and the value-added tax. For brands which are marketed only outside Metro Manila, the "net retail price" shall mean the price at which the cigarette is sold in five (5) major supermarkets in the region excluding the amount intended to cover the applicable excise tax and the value-added tax.

The classification of each brand of cigarettes based on its average net retail price as of October 1, 1996, as set forth in Annex "D", shall remain in force until revised by Congress.

"Variant of a brand" shall refer to a brand on which a modifier is prefixed and/or suffixed to the root name of the brand and/or a different brand which carries the same logo or design of the existing brand.

Manufactures and importers of cigars and cigarettes shall, within thirty (30) days from the effectivity of R. A. No. 8240 and within the first five (5) days of every month thereafter submit to the Commissioner a sworn statement of the volume of sales for each particular brand of cigars and/or cigarettes sold at his establishment for the three-month period immediately preceding.

Any manufacturer or importer who, in violation of this Section, knowingly misdeclares or misrepresents in his or its sworn statement herein required any pertinent data or information shall, upon discovery, be penalized by a summary cancellation or withdrawal of his or its permit to engage in business as manufacturer or importer of cigars or cigarettes.

Any corporation, association or partnership liable for any of the acts or omissions in violation of this Section shall be fined treble the amount of deficiency taxes, surcharges and interest which may be assessed pursuant to this Section.

Any person liable for any of the acts or omissions prohibited under this Section shall be criminally liable and penalized under Section 254 of this Code. Any person who willfully aids or abets in the commission of any such act or omission shall be criminally liable in the same manner as the principal.

If the offender is not a citizen of the Philippines, he shall be deported immediately after serving the sentence without further proceedings for deportation.
SEC. 146. Inspection Fee. - For inspection made in accordance with this Chapter, there shall be collected a fee of Fifty centavos (P0.50) for each thousand cigars or fraction thereof; Ten centavos (P0.10) for each thousand cigarettes of fraction thereof; Two centavos (P0.02) for each kilogram of leaf tobacco or fraction thereof; and Three centavos (P0.03) for each kilogram or fraction thereof, of scrap and other manufactured tobacco.

The inspection fee on leaf tobacco, scrap, cigars, cigarettes and other tobacco products as defined in Section 147 of this Code shall be paid by the wholesaler, manufacturer, producer, owner or operator of redrying plant, as the case may be, immediately before removal there of from the establishment of the wholesaler, manufacturer, owner or operator of the redrying plant. In case of imported leaf tobacco and products thereof, the inspection fee shall be paid by the importer before removal from customs' custody.

Fifty percent (50%) of the tobacco inspection fee shall accrue to the Tobacco Inspection Fund created by Section 12 of Act No. 2613, as amended by Act No. 3179, and fifty percent (50%) shall accrue to the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
SEC. 147. Definition of Terms. - When used herein and in statements or official forms prescribed hereunder, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:

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