Customs relaxes rule on balikbayan boxes

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The Bureau of Customs (BoC) on Thursday announced it relaxed the rules in availing of the P150,000 duty and tax exemption privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes.

“Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 18- 2018, issued on October 11, 2018, supersedes CMO 04-2017 which provides for the guidelines on the availment of the privilege by qualified Filipinos on their consolidated shipment of balikbayan boxes,” the bureau said in a statement.

Under the new rules, BoC will no longer require the submission of commercial invoices of goods contained in balikbayan boxes, saying invoices are to be submitted only if it is available.

Likewise, the bureau will now accept other documents to show proof of Filipino citizenship instead of the previous mandatory copy of Philippine passport.

The announcement came after the previous rules were criticized by the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) community for strict requirements.

Aside from the proof of citizenship, the new regulation requires qualified Filipinos, through their freight forwarders or deconsolidators, to submit the information sheet in three copies.

The first copy is to be placed at the topmost portion of the box, the second copy to be kept by the sender while the third copy to be given to the consolidator and forwarded to the bureau together with the other documentary requirements.

“It will serve as the packing list of the balikbayan box,” the bureau said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Qualified Filipinos abroad include those who are holders of valid 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.

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