By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Bureau of Customs and the Department of Finance have signed a Customs Administrative Order (CAO) concerning the consolidated shipment of balikbayan boxes, which will take effect on Christmas Day.
CAO 05-2016 serves as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Section 800 (g) of the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
It covers the sending of balikbayan boxes by qualified Filipinos while abroad (QFWA) to their families and relatives.
This CAO states that only qualified Filipinos abroad may avail the duty- and tax-free privileges on balikbayan boxes containing personal effects and households goods.
Under the CMTA, only holders of valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and certified by Department of Labor and Employment or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for overseas employment purposes regardless of profession are qualified.
Also qualified are non-resident Filipinos who have established permanent residency abroad but retained their Filipino citizenship; and resident Filipino citizens who temporarily stay abroad with visas which allow them to stay abroad temporarily.
However, the CAO also laid down requirements that QFWA must follow to enjoy its privileges:
- supporting documents like a photocopy of a page of his Philippine or foreign passport with personal information, picture and signature
- proof of copy of dual citizenship for foreign passport holders
- invoice, receipt or equivalent document covering the goods in the balikbayan box, if any
- accomplished information sheet from Customs that will serve as the packing list
The international forwarder/consolidator shall submit these information sheets and supporting documents in a secured electronic format to a Philippine forwarder/deconsolidator which, in turn, shall transmit it to the Bureau 10 days at most before shipments coming by sea arrive, and at most six hours before shipments carried by aircraft arrive.
A QFWA shall also certify that only personal effects and household goods, which shall not be in commercial quantities, are sent through balikbayan boxes.
Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, meanwhile, called on all international and local forwarders, foreign consolidators and local deconsolidators to strictly follow the CAO guidelines to expedite clearance procedures and ensure that all balikbayan boxes are delivered with utmost care.
“We value the importance of each balikbayan box. They symbolize the hardship of our overseas Filipino workers, and the love of Filipinos abroad for their families here in the country, ” he said.
Tags: balikbayan box, Bureau of Customs, Customs Administrative Order, Department of Finance, duty and tax free privileges, IRR on duty- and tax-free balikbayan boxes signed, Manila Bulletin, shipment, tax