THE Duterte administration has come up with the rules exempting balikbayan boxes from taxes to be effective on Christmas Day, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.
The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) concerning the consolidated balikbayan boxes will take effect on December 25 after the BOC and the Department of Finance (DOF) signed Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016.
CAO 05-2016 serves as the IRR on Section 800 (g) of the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), and covers the sending of balikbayan boxes by Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) to their families and relatives.
Balikabayan boxes brought in through means other than consolidated shipments shall be covered by a different CAO, BOC said.
This CAO states that only qualified Filipinos abroad may avail of duty and tax free privileges on balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and households goods. Under the Act, qualified Filipinos abroad are the following:
(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 privilege, the following requirements must be met:
(1) A QFWA shall submit the following supporting documents:
a. 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,
b. Invoice, receipt or equivalent document covering the goods in the balikbayan box, if any.
(2) A QFWA shall accomplish, sign and submit the Information Sheet, which will be issued by BOC and will serve as the packing list.
(3) The international forwarder/consolidator shall submit these Information Sheets and supporting documents in a secured electronic format to local (Philippine) forwarder/deconsolidator.
(4) The local forwarder/deconsolidator shall transmit to the Bureau the Information Sheet and supporting documents in a secured electronic format before the arrival of the balikbayan boxes to 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 shall also certify that only personal effects and household goods, which shall not be in commercial quantities, are sent through balikbayan boxes.
Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon called on all international and local forwarders, foreign consolidators and local deconsolidators to strictly follow these guidelines, to enable customs to expedite clearance procedures, and for them to ensure that all balikbayan boxes are delivered to their receiver 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 has earlier 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.
BOC said the CAO shall be effective 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation. The CAO has been published in Manila Times today, December 10, and shall be effective on Christmas Day, December 25. (SDR/Sunnex)