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Hike in ‘balikbayan’ tax-free cap eyed

PHOTO BY CRISTINA P. RODRIGUEZ

PHOTO BY CRISTINA P. RODRIGUEZ

OVERSEAS Filipinos may soon be sending home more “balikbayan” boxes after the Senate passed a measure raising tax limits on the goodies they send to their families here.

The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which, among other things, seeks to simplify, modernize and make transparent customs procedures and increase the tax-exempt value of OFW packages to P150,000 from P10,000.

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The provision “is one that is most awaited by OFWs,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

Under Section 800 of the CMTA, Philippine residents, OFWs and other Filipinos residing abroad or returning to the country would be allowed to bring in or ship to their families balikbayan boxes exempt from duties and taxes as long as the total dutiable value of a box shall not exceed P150,000. They may enjoy the privilege up to three times a year.

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“This means an OFW may send two boxes at the same time provided their total worth is not more than P150,000. That will be counted as one shipment,” Recto said in a statement.

But the boxes should contain personal and household effects only, they must not be in commercial quantities, and must not be intended for barter, sale or hire.

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