OFWs allowed only P150K worth in balikbayan boxes a year – BOC

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reminds overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning residents that they are only allowed to send in P150,000 worth of duty and tax-free goods via balikbayan boxes to their families or relatives in the Philippines per year.

The bureau said balikbayan boxes may be sent up to three times in a calendar year provided that the total value shall not exceed P150,000.

“Any amount that exceeds the allowable value is subject to payment of duties and taxes,” the agency said in a statement.

To qualify for the duty and tax-free privilege, the ultimate recipient or consignee of the balikbayan box must be family or relative up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.

Under Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), returning residents, OFWs, and other Filipinos while residing abroad or upon their return to the Philippines are allowed to bring in or send in duty and tax-free balikbayan boxes to their families or relatives.

Qualified Filipinos while abroad include OFWs with valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for overseas employment purposes.

They cover all Filipinos, working in a foreign country under employment contracts, regardless of their professions, skills or employment status. It also includes Filipinos working abroad under job contracts that do not require certification from DOLE or POEA.

Resident Filipinos, on the other hand, refer to resident Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad which may include holders of a student visa, investor’s visa, tourist visa and similar visas that grant them temporary stay abroad.

Under Section 800 (g) of the CMTA, balikbayan boxes should only contain personal and household effects such as wearing apparel, personal adornments, electronic gadgets, toiletries to qualify for tax exemption.

Goods in commercial quantities and those intended for sale or for hire are not covered by the duty and tax-free balikbayan box.

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