For shipment not exceeding P150,000: Balikbayan boxes free from duties, taxes — BoC

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - October 20, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs has reiterated that balikbayan boxes are exempted from duties and taxes provided they do not exceed P150,000 in a year and are for personal use only.

The agency issued the guidelines on sending balikbayan boxes as the Christmas season is fast approaching and with the bulk of shipment that are expected to start coming in.

The BOC is also reminding the public to be cautious in sending packages and parcels.

“OFWs and claimants are advised to support legitimate and accredited forwarders to avoid the possibility of being scammed by fly-by-night operators,” the BOC posted on Facebook.

Erwin Andaya, administrative officer 4 of BOC-Cebu Administrative Division, said that a sender is only allowed to send balikbayan boxes thrice in a year.

“Unya aron ma exempted sa payment of taxes and duties, sulod sa usa ka tuig dapat three times lang siya makapadala unya ang amount is accumulated nga P150,000 and not P150,000 kada padala,” Andaya told The Freeman.

Under the guidelines, anyone can send balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, even corporations, partnerships and sole proprietors.

However, only qualified Filipinos while abroad can avail of the duty- and tax-free privilege as stipulated under the Section 800 (g) of Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act 2016 (CMTA).

Under this law, any amount that exceeds the allowable value of P150,000 is subject to payment of duties and taxes.

Qualified Filipinos abroad covers the following; (1) Overseas Filipino Workers with valid DFA-issued passports certified by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for overseas employment. This also includes Filipinos under job contracts not requiring certification from the foregoing. (2) Non-Resident Filipinos with permanent residency abroad but has retained Filipino Citizenship. And lastly, Resident Filipino Citizens that may include holders of student visa, investors' visa, tourist visa, and similar visas which allow them to establish temporary stay abroad.

Andaya added that the balikbayan boxes should not contain goods in commercial value but only to contain items for personal use and household effects in order to be exempted from payment of such taxes.

“For personal use and household use lang gyud kay dili na pud na pwede magpadala og sakyanan ba ron even if isulod siya og container van by way of consolidation,” said Andaya.

BOC stated that balikbayan boxes are consolidated boxes coursed through freight forwarders either by sea or air.

BOC added that the sender shall submit an accomplished information sheet (available from consolidators, value-added service providers, or through customs website customs.gov.ph, photocopy of biographical page of passport (or other IDs indicating citizenship may be presented), and invoice/receipt if available, to an international forwarder or consolidator.

The hired forwarder/consolidator shall then submit all documents, including information sheets, to the BOC and Philippine forwarder/deconsolidator in a secured electronic format.

The Philippine forwarder/deconsolidator shall also submit all documents, including the information sheets received from the consolidator, to the Bureau of Customs in a secured electronic format.

In order to render a more efficient means of tracking parcels and balikbayan boxes as it can be accessed through the Customs website at customs.gov.ph, the Parcel and Balikbayan Tracking System was launched in October 2019 in line with the BOC’s drive to promote transparency and ease of doing business. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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