Liza Macaranas, parcel section chief at the Manila Post Office, starts organizing stacks of boxes sent in by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from all around the world. ManilaTimes.net photo

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) has eased the guidelines for qualified Filipinos availing themselves of the duty- and tax-free privilege of consolidated balikbayan boxes.

Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 18-2018, issued on Oct. 11, 2018, reduced the documentary requirements needed to obtain the duty- and tax-free privilege for balikbayan boxes. It supersedes CMO 04-2017.

Under the new directive, the submission of a copy of one’s Philippine passport as proof of Filipino citizenship will no longer be mandatory and other IDs will be accepted, including: permanent resident ID or equivalent document in other countries; Overseas Employment Certificate/OWWA Card; work permit; Unified Government ID issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), or any other equivalent document except the birth certificate.

Qualified Filipinos availing themselves of the duty- and tax-free privilege will no longer be required to submit the commercial invoices of the goods contained in the balikbayan box. Invoices are to be submitted only when these are available.

Aside from proof of citizenship, qualified Filipinos, through their freight forwarders or deconsolidators, are only required to submit three copies of the information sheet that serve as the packing list of the balikbayan box.

The first copy of the information sheet, which can be downloaded from the BoC website, is to be placed on the topmost portion of the box. The second copy will be kept by the sender, and the third copy will be given to the consolidator to be forwarded to the bureau together with other documentary requirements.

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