As Holiday Approaches, BOC reiterates guidelines in sending Balikbayan Boxes

As the yuletide season draws closer, the Bureau of Customs reiterates the guidelines in sending Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines.

Anyone can send balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, even Corporations, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietors, but only Qualified Filipinos While Abroad can avail of the duty- and tax-free privilege under the Section 800 (g) of the CMTA.

Under the Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act 2016 (CMTA), sending of balikbayan boxes by Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) to their families and relatives is exempt from payment of duties and taxes up to three (3) times and the total FOB/FCA value of which, is not exceeding Php 150,000 in a calendar year. Any amount that exceeds the allowable value is subject to payment of duties and taxes.

QFWA covers the following Filipinos; (1) Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) 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. Lastly, (3) 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.

To avail of this privilege, the Bureau also reminds Filipinos that balikbayan boxes should contain only personal and household effects such as wearing apparel, personal adornment, gadgets, and toiletries to qualify for the tax exemption. Goods which are in commercial quantities and those intended for sale, hire, or barter, are not covered by the duty- and tax-free privilege.

The QFWA/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 International Forwarder/Consolidator shall then submit all documents, including Information Sheets, to the Bureau of Customs and Philippine Forwarder/Deconsolidator in a secured electronic format.

Lastly, 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 line with the BOC’s drive to promote transparency and ease of doing business, the Parcel and Balikbayan Tracking System was also launched last October 2019 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. Senders are highly encouraged to utilize the system which will provide updates about their shipment as it goes through the different stages of customs clearance.

As the volume of such shipments increase during the holiday season, the BOC also reminds the public to be cautious in sending their 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.

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