Vice President Jejomar C. Binay wants the ceiling on taxable value for balikbayan boxes brought in or sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) increased to P150,000.
Binay said the current P10,000 tax limit is no longer realistic because it was set in 1978 when the exchange rate was only P7.37 to $1.
“Kunwari may umuwing OFW at may dalang bagong laptop para sa anak niya. Wala naman sigurong de-kalidad at brand new na laptop o computer na P10,000 lang ang presyo. Kaya doon pa lang sa laptop, ubos na ‘yong exemption niya ( Let’s say that an OFW brought a laptop that costs P10,000 for his son, his exemption would only cover that laptop),” he said.
Binay said raising the tax ceiling would be a small token of gratitude for the millions of dollars OFWs pour into the country.
“Latest figures show that remittances from January to August of this year have already reached $17.9 billion,” he pointed out. “In August alone, remittances from OFWs totaled $2.3 billion.”
The expressed hope that the the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, which includes provisions of raising the tax ceilings for balikbayan boxes, will be passed into law before the 16th Congress ends.
If not, he said he would make the passage of the CMTA a priority if he becomes president.
The Senate and House versions of the CMTA aims to raise to P150,000 the taxable value of balikbayan boxes brought in or sent by OFWs. This privilege can also be enjoyed up to three times a year.
However, these boxes must contain personal and household effects only.