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Customs suspends orders on balikbayan boxes

Newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in a statement said the BOC is receiving numerous complaints regarding the tedious requirements of the bureau for granting of duty and tax exemption. Philstar.com/File

CEBU, Philippines — Amidst the criticisms among overseas Filipino workers on the guidelines in availing tax-exempt privileges, the Bureau of Customs has temporarily suspended the guidelines for the implementation of the duty and tax-free privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes.

Newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in a statement said the BOC is receiving numerous complaints regarding the tedious requirements of the bureau for granting of duty and tax exemption.

Lapeña stated the suspension of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016, Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 04-2017, and the registration requirements of deconsolidators.

CAO 05-2016 and CMO 04-2017 provide guidelines on the implementation of duty and tax-free privilege of balikbayan boxes. It was implemented last August.

The suspension of these orders will last until March 31, 2018.

Under the customs orders, qualified Filipinos while abroad must accomplish the Information Sheet, submit a photocopy of the Philippine passport, a copy of invoice, and proof of purchase of the goods contained in the box to be qualified for the P150,000 tax exemption.

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The Customs chief said that although it is their duty to facilitate customs clearance of balikbayan boxes, they cannot set aside the sentiments of Filipinos abroad.

He added that drafting team of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act will meet with the stakeholders for consultation to make the necessary amendments on the CAO and CMO.

Lapeña said that with the suspension of the current procedure on balikbayan box, the previous regulation will be enforced. (FREEMAN)

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