According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Duterte administration will implement the exemption of balikbayan boxes from taxes effective on December 25.
The Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016 duly signed by BOC and the Department of Finance (DOF) allows Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) to send their balikbayan boxes without paying duties and taxes.
According to the act, only balikbayan boxes sent through consolidated shipments shall avail of the privilege.
In addition, the act also provided grounds on who are qualified Filipinos abroad who can avail of the service:
(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).
The act also provided requirements taht must be met to be granted of the privilege;
(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 reminded all officials to strictly follow the given guidelines.
"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." he said.
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