The commitment of the federal government to increase vigilance over fuel importers to eliminate the illegal importation of the product seems to be not being enough.
47% of the gasoline imported into the country last year was contraband, as revealed by the Tax Administration Service (SAT) in a report published on Tuesday. The illegal importation of gasoline, diesel and gas condensates has reached a new record figure in recent years.
The supervisory body estimates the smuggling of fuel and other oil products at 102 million barrels last year, an increase of 122% compared to 2018, when the reported figure was 45.8 million barrels.
The federal government has set as one of its main goals that of reducing illegal imports of fuels, which occurs under the mechanics of bringing the product into the country under other tariff headings and thus avoid paying the taxes that are set on gasoline and the rest of the products of the type. Those who illegally import fuels usually declare them as lubricants, which avoids paying the Special Income Tax (IEPS).
“Since 2020 there has been an increase in imports of lubricants, without any support in economic activity. These products are not subject to the payment of IEPS, so they are used as a means of evasion to introduce hydrocarbons through land customs”, says the SAT in the document.
Since the beginning of last year, the Ministry of Energy, the Regulatory Commission and the SAT began a process of periodic verifications at the storage, import, transfer terminals and other points in the logistics chain to verify the procedures for the entry of gasoline, in search of irregularities related to the illegal importation of fuels.
It has also toughened foreign trade rules, which includes the elimination of some gasoline import points.
The SAT says that as a result of the illegal importation of fuels, IEPS collection has decreased by 58,078 million pesos in 2021 compared to a year earlier.
The report states that the illegal introduction of fuels has changed and now occurs mainly by land, through trucks and tank trucks. This after the commands in the maritime customs changed and that contained the internment through the maritime customs.