Customs eases ?balikbayan? box rules after drawing flak from OFW groups
By Rea Cu ? November 9, 2018
In Photo: A worker at a warehouse ferries balikbayan boxes in this BusinessMirror file photo.
THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday said that it has eased the guidelines in availing of the duty and tax-free privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes. This, after the previous rules were criticized by the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) community for the tedious requirements in accessing the P150,000 duty and tax-exemption privilege.
Customs Memorandum Order 18-2018, issued on October 11, provides for the guidelines on the availment by consolidated shipment of balikbayan boxes. The issuance
supersedes CMO 04-2017.
According to the BOC, instead of the mandatory copy of a Philippine passport, it will now accept other documents to show proof of Filipino citizenship, such as photocopy of pertinent page of the Philippine passport; or in case of a dual Filipino citizen without a Philippine passport, a photocopy of foreign passport plus a copy of proof of dual Filipino citizenship; permanent resident ID; Overseas Employment Certificate or their Overseas Workers Welfare Administration work permit; Unified Government ID; and any other equivalent document except birth certificate.
In a bid to simplify the rules and regulations on duty-and tax-free consolidated balikbayan boxes, Qualified Filipinos availing of the P150,000 duty and tax-free privilege are not required to submit the commercial invoices of the goods contained in the balikbayan box.
Aside from proof of citizenship, the regulation requires qualified Filipinos, through their freight forwarders or de-consolidators, to submit the Information Sheet in three copies. The first copy is to be placed at the topmost portion of the box, the second copy to be kept by the sender, and the third copy is to be given to the Consolidator to be forwarded to the BOC together with other documentary requirements.
Balikbayan box senders are advised that the balikbayan box must only contain personal and household effects, according to the BOC.
Balikbayan boxes may be sent up to three times in a calendar year provided the total Free Carrier Act value per sender shall not exceed P150,000 and the items or goods sent are not in commercial quantities.
The bureau added that de-consolidators and freight forwarders in charge of clearing consolidated balikbayan boxes are obligated to ensure that only personal effects and household goods are sent through consolidated shipments of balikbayan boxes.
The penalties and sanctions to be imposed against erring de-consolidators and freight forwarders are provided under Customs Administrative Order 1-2018.
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