The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Finance signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act for overseas Filipinos to avail of duty- and tax-free privileges in sending home balikbayan boxes. File photo

Coming soon: Tax-free balikbayan boxes for OFWs
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Just in time for Christmas.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Finance signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act for overseas Filipinos to avail of duty- and tax-free privileges in sending home balikbayan boxes.

The two agencies signed Customs Administrative Order 05-2016, which serves as the IRR of Section 800 of the law covering balikbayan boxes sent home by qualified Filipinos while abroad.

It will take effect on Christmas Day.

The customs order states that those who can avail of duty- and tax-free privileges on balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and household goods are: holders of valid passport issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by either the Department of Labor and Employment or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for overseas employment purposes; Filipinos who have established permanent residency abroad but retained their citizenship; and Filipinos who are holders of student, tourist or investor visas or similar ones allowing them to temporarily stay abroad.

The order requires qualified parties to submit photocopies of either Philippine or foreign passport that contain personal information, picture and signature; proof of copy of dual citizenship for Filipino dual citizens; and invoice, receipt or similar documents covering the goods inside the balikbayan box.

Filipinos abroad should also accomplish, sign and submit an information sheet which the BOC would provide and would serve as the packing list.

The documents and information sheet would then be submitted by forwarding companies in a secured electronic format during the time periods prescribed by the BOC.

Overseas Filipinos should also certify that only personal effects and household goods, not in commercial quantities, are inside the balikbayan boxes.

Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon reminded port officials and personnel to follow the agency’s policies prohibiting the opening of balikbayan boxes to expedite release.

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