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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pnoy's Good News to OFWs: He Signs Law That Exempts ‘Balikbayan Boxes’ From Taxes Up To P350,000

On INQUIRER last June 1st Wednesday reported of the “BIG GIFT” outgoing President Benigno Aquino III is giving to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). This happened after the President signed CMTA or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act that raises the tax exemption ceiling from P10,000 to P150,000 and up to P350,000 for gift packages or Balikbayan boxes sent by overseas workers to their families in the Philippines.
According to Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina:
We, at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), are pleased to announce that Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), has been approved and signed into law by His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III.
With this law, the BOC will implement several reforms including:
  • full electronic processing of shipments,
  • streamlining of export and import procedures,
  • simplified processes for seizure and disposition of illegal goods
Under this law, OFWs can send up to three P150,000-worth of tax and duty free balikbayan boxes in a year, as long as the goods are not in commercial quantities nor intended for barter, sale or for hire.
Additionally, returning Filipinos will also benefit from this law with the following tax-free ceiling:
  • Stayed overseas for 10 years or more – P350,000 tax-free ceiling
  • Stayed overseas for 5 years but less than 10 – P250,000 tax-free ceiling
  • Stayed overseas for less than 5 years – P150,000 tax-free ceiling
This is really good news for our OFW relatives! However, we hope no one uses this to evade paying taxes.
Sen. Angara thanked the President and said that with this law now effective, our OFWs“can bring home more things to their families. This would bring comfort to their families because they could send home items that they were able to buy at a lower price abroad.”He also expressed his hope that: “With the increase in the values, we lessen the discretion of the customs officials to inspect goods and collect taxes, thus minimizing cases of corruption and smuggling.”

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