BOC suspends guidelines on duty and tax-free balikbayan boxes

Customs Commissioner Isidro LapeƱa said the guidelines in the implementation of the duty and tax-free privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes is temporarily suspended, following the upsurge of criticisms among overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

LapeƱa said the BOC is continuously receiving numerous complaints on the tedious requirements of the bureau to be granted with duty and tax exemption.

The memorandum states the suspension of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2016, Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 04-2017, and the registration requirements of deconsolidators.

CAO 05-2016 and CMO 04-2017 provides guidelines on the implementation of duty and tax-free privilege of balikbayan boxes.

Under said customs orders, qualified Filipinos while abroad (QFWA) must accomplish the Information Sheet, submit a photocopy of the Philippine passport, a copy of invoice, and proof of purchase of the goods contained in the box to be qualified for the P150,000 tax exemption.

“Although it is our duty to facilitate customs clearance of balikbayan boxes, we cannot set aside the sentiments of our fellow Filipinos abroad,” the Customs chief said.

The drafting team of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act will meet with the stakeholders for consultation to make the necessary amendments on the CAO and CMO, he added.

“With the suspension of the current procedure on balikbayan box, the previous regulation will be enforced,” Commissioner LapeƱa.

The said BOC memorandum circular allows deconsolidators which complied with the registration requirements to be given priority in the release of shipments.

The suspension of CAO 5-2016 and CMO 14-2017 is until March 31, 2018.(Source: BOC press release)