Balikbayan box regulations suspended

By , on October 5, 2017

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (Photo: Commissioner Isidro Lapena/Facebook)
Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (Photo: Commissioner Isidro Lapena/Facebook)

MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday announced the temporary suspension of the guidelines in the implementation of the duty and tax-free policy for consolidated balikbayan boxes, due to the numerous criticisms among overseas Filipino workers (OFW) on the rules in availing of tax-exempt privilege.

In a memorandum, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña has ordered the deferment 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 order, 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 PHP150,000 tax exemption.

The BOC chief noted that the suspension was issued after continuously receiving numerous complaints from Filipinos overseas on the tedious requirements before granted duty and 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.

Lapeña 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.

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

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 will take effect until March 31, 2018.