Millions of Filipinos working abroad were sending goods way back home especially during Christmas season. But, due to the previous scenarios of lost items inside the balikbayan boxes, many OFWs and their families have raised the concern to the Bureau of Customs.
With this the BOC (Bureau of Customs) have come up with a new set of rules pertaining to balikbayan boxes, which is the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act or the RA NO. 10863. This Republic Act was made into law in May 2016 in which many provisions from the old Balikbayan Box Law were updated.
Recently, the Bureau of Customs reiterated to the public about the provisions that covers balikbayan boxes that include some salient points:
How much is the maximum value of the tax-free items?
The maximum value of the tax-free items inside the balikbayan boxes was increased from Php10,000 to Php150,000. In the same manner, the value of the items subjected to duties tax was also increased from Php10 to Php10,000.
Who are qualified to avail the privilege?
Those who are identified as Qualified Filipino While Abroad or those Filipinos who stay in foreign countries whether for permanent residency, education, or employment are qualified to avail the privilege of tax-free balikbayan boxes. The QFWA or Qualified Filipino While Abroad includes:
- OFWs working abroad and holds passports issued by the POEA, or DFA, or certified by the DOLE for overseas employment purposes on a contractual basis.
- Filipinos who have retained the Filipino citizenship, but residing permanently abroad.
- Filipino citizens temporarily staying in foreign countries and hold either tourist, student, or investors visa.
- To qualify for the privilege, the recipient of the balikbayan boxes should be a relative up to 4th degree of affinity.
How many balikbayan boxes can be sent tax-free?
Qualified Filipinos living or working abroad are allowed to send a maximum of three balikbayan boxes within a year free of tax. However, the amount of the goods inside the box should not exceed Php150,000. But, the amount would be divided for three availment of privilege within a year. The boxes should only contain household and personal items only.
Likewise, the sender should accomplish the information sheets declaring the contents of the balikbayan boxes. Details include the quantity and value of the item regardless if it is new or secondhand.
To ensure the authenticity of the declared items, the BOC will conduct an X-ray examination to the balikbayan boxes. In case of discrepancy, the boxes will be opened an checked.
The processing fee for the balikbayan box is Php250 and in case of violation, the sender will pay up to Php300,000 and criminal prosecution.