DFA welcomes suspension of balikbayan box tax

By Leslie Gatpolintan

October 7, 2017, 8:55 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday welcomed the decision of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to suspend the implementation of the duty and tax-free privileges of consolidated balikbayan boxes, saying this is good news for the hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipinos.

"We would like to thank the Bureau of Customs and also the Department of Finance for being sensitive to the needs of our kababayans abroad and for listening to their appeals," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

Cayetano said Philippine embassies and consulates general in the United States and other balikbayan box-sending countries abroad have been receiving requests for assistance from members of Filipino communities who will be affected by the orders.

On Thursday, customs authorities announced the temporary suspension until March 31, 2018 of Customs Administrative Order 05-2016 and Customs
Memorandum Order 04-2017, in response to the appeals of Filipinos abroad who would be affected by the new tax policy.

With the suspension, Filipinos abroad are no longer required to present proofs of purchase for items they place inside balikbayan boxes that they send to their families in the Philippines.

Under both orders, Filipino citizens who send balikbayan boxes to the Philippines are also required to submit a photocopy of their Philippine passport to avail of the government's tax exemption. (PNA)