‘Qualified’ Filipinos abroad may send tax-free ‘balikbayan’ boxes soon
Good news for overseas Filipino workers sending home balikbayan boxes to their loved ones.
The Bureau of Customs and the Department of Finance have signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) prescribing the guidelines on duty and tax-free balikbayan boxes.
The two agencies have inked Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016, which serves as the IRR of the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act covering the sending of such packages.
“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,” said BOC commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.
CAO 05-2016 will take effect on December 25, Christmas Day.
The order said only qualified Filipinos abroad may avail of duty and tax free privileges on balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and households goods.
Under the CMTA, qualified Filipinos abroad are those who are: holders of valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for overseas employment purposes;
Non-resident Filipinos who have established permanent residency abroad but retained their Filipino citizenship; and resident Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad and hold student visa, investors’ visa, tourist visa, and similar visas.
To avail this privilege, a qualified Filipino must submit: a photocopy of the page of his Philippine passport with personal information, picture and signature, or photocopy of his foreign passport with personal information, picture and signature plus proof of copy of dual citizenship.
The qualified Filipino must also submit an invoice, receipt or equivalent document covering the goods in the balikbayan box.
The qualified Filipino must also sign and submit the information sheet to be issued by the agency, with the document serving as the packing list.
On the other hand, the international forwarder or consolidator must submit the information sheets and supporting documents in secured electronic format to the Philippine forwarder or deconsolidator.
The local forwarder shall then transmit the information sheet and supporting documents in a secured electronic format to the BOC, before the arrival of the balikbayan boxes to the Philippines.
For consolidated shipments by sea, shipments with a three-day shipping time must have its documents submitted 24 hours before arrival.
Shipments by sea with a seven-day shipping time must have its documents submitted 48 hours before arrival.
For shipments coming from America, Europe, Middle East, and other parts of the world that do not fall under the above-mentioned shipping time, the documents must be submitted 10 days before arrival.
For consolidated shipments carried by aircraft, those coming from Asia must have their documents submitted one hour before arrival. Those from other countries must have documents submitted six hours before arrival.
The BOC said a qualified Filipino must also certify that only personal effects and household goods, of non-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 the guidelines provided for in CAO 05-2016.
This is to ensure that BOC personnel expedite clearance procedures, and that all balikbayan boxes are delivered to their receiver with utmost care.
Faeldon also reminded all port officials and personnel to follow the BOC’s “no opening of balikbayan boxes” policy, and to expedite the release and handling of boxes.
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