No more tax on Balikbayan boxes starting Christmas

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Good news for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). 

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Nicanor Faeldon announced on Saturday, starting Christmas Day, December 25, balikbayan boxes sent by Filipinos abroad will be exempted from taxes.

This is after the BOC and the Department of Finance (DOF) signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) covering a portion of the Customs and Modernization and Tarrif Act (CMTA).

The Customs Administrative Order (CAO) states that Filipinos abroad who can qualify or avail of the duty and tax free privileges on balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and household goods are those who are:

(1) holders of valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and certified by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for overseas employment purposes regardless of profession;

(2) non-resident Filipinos who have established permanent residency abroad but retained their Filipino citizenship; and,

(3) resident Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad (may include holders of student visa, investors’ visa, tourist visa, and similar visas which allow them to establish temporary stay abroad).

To be granted this priviliges, the following requirements must also be met:

(1) Supporting documents:

Photocopy of a page of his/her Philippine passport with personal information, picture and signature, or photocopy of his/her foreign passport with personal information, picture and signature plus proof of copy of dual citizenship; and,Invoice, receipt or equivalent document covering the goods in the balikbayan box, if any.

(2) A filled up, signed and submitted information sheet, which will be issued by BOC and will serve as the packing list.

(3) The international forwarder/consolidator should submit these information sheets and supporting documents via a secure electronic format to a local (Philippine) forwarder/deconsolidator.

(4) The local forwarder/deconsolidator should transmit to the Bureau the information sheet and supporting documents via a secure electronic format before the arrival of the balikbayan boxes in the Philippines and within the period prescribed:

For consolidated shipments by sea:

a. For shipments that will take 3-day shipping time: 24 hours prior to arrival
b. For shipments that will take 7-day shipping time: 48 hours prior to arrival
c. For shipments coming from America, Europe, Middle East, and other parts of the world that does not fall under the above shipping time: 10 days prior to arrival.

For consolidate shipments carried by aircraft:

a. For those coming from Asia – 1 hour prior to arrival
b. For those coming from other countries – 6 hours prior to arrival

(5) A QFWA should also certify that only personal effects and household goods, which shall not be in commercial quantities, are sent through balikbayan boxes.

Meanwhile, balikbayan boxes brought in through means other than consolidated shipments shall be covered by a different order.

Faeldon urged all international and local forwarders, foreign consolidators, and local deconsolidators to strictly follow these guidelines, to enable Customs to expedite clearance procedures. 

This is to to ensure that all balikbayan boxes are delivered to receivers with utmost care.

"We value the importance of each balikbayan box. They symbolize the hardship of our overseas Filipino workers, and the love of Filipinos abroad for their families here in the country,” Faeldon said.

Faeldon also reminded all port officials and personnel to follow the Bureau's "no opening of balikbayan boxes" policy, and to expedite release and handling of the boxes.

Source: Sunstar.com.ph

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