Starting August 1, 2017, all senders of parcels containing personal effects and household items, commonly called “balikbayan boxes,” will be subjected to stricter requirements, as stipulated under Philippine Bureau of Customs memorandum order 04-2017. The new rules are said to promote transparency and prevent smuggling on imported items.
Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon of the Bureau of Customs posted the following set of regulations and clarifications:
- Anyone can send Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines, but only the Qualified Filipino While Abroad (QFWA) can avail of the tax and duty-free Balikbayan Box Privilege according to the new rules.
- Filipinos referred to as Qualified Filipino While Abroad (QFWA) can send the tax-free balikbayan box privilege. According to CAO 05-2016, they are defined as follows:
- Overseas Filipino Workers or Filipinos who work abroad either with passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for overseas employment purposes or those who work in a foreign land on a contractual basis;
- Non-Resident Filipinos or Filipinos who have sought permanent residency abroad but have retained Filipino citizenship;
- Resident Filipinos or Filipino citizens staying abroad temporarily and hold any of the following visas: student, tourist, and investors;
- Recipients of the balikbayan boxes privilege must be a relative of the sender up to the fourth degree of affinity to qualify for the privilege.
- Contents in balikbayan boxes privilege are exempt from taxes provided they don’t exceed more than P150,000 in total value.
- Tax-Free Balikbayan Boxes can be sent up to 3 times or 3 shipments per the calendar year.
- Receipts are not required for used items, groceries, “gifts” and other goods worth less than P10,000. But it is required for items that are brand new and worth more than P10,000 each.
- Senders must fill out a declaration form or information sheets that will detail the contents of the balikbayan boxes. These forms can be downloaded online or can get a copy from accredited consolidators or foreign freight movers. When filling out the declaration form or information sheet, the Commissioner said that there’s no need to be very precise with the costs. Estimates are fine. For example, if the t-shirt included in the box was originally purchased for P500 and has already been used, the sender can declare the price as P100.
- For the complete details and to see a copy of the “Information Sheet” refer to Customs Memorandum Order No. 04-2017.
Image from Google