Balikbayan boxes exempted from tax

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STARTING December 25 this year, qualified Filipinos abroad will no longer have to pay taxes when they send balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and household goods valued at not more than P150,000.

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“We value the importance of each balikbayan box. It symbolizes the hardship of our OFWs, and the love of Filipinos abroad for their families here in the country,” Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said in a media forum.

Exempted from paying taxes and duties are holders of passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for overseas employment purposes regardless of profession; non-resident Filipinos who have established permanent residency abroad but retained their Filipino citizenship; and Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad such as holders of student visa, investors’ visa, tourist visa, and similar visas which allow them to establish temporary stay abroad.

The Bureau of Customs and the Department of Finance have signed Customs Administrative Order 05-2016, which serves as the Implementing Rules and Regulations on Section 800 (g) of the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

He said qualified Filipinos can send a maximum of three boxes, whose value does not exceed P150,000, a year.

Port officials and personnel have been instructed to expedite the release of the boxes without opening them.

Faeldon said a balikbayan box may only be opened if it has derogatory information.

WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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