The Bureau of Customs (BOC) clarified that international donations are still subject to payment of customs duties and taxes and required to undergo the normal procedures for processing of imports.
BOC, in a statement, advised the public to follow proper procedures in importing foreign donations to avoid unnecessary charges.
The customs bureau said imported international donations may only be exempted from payment of customs duties and/or taxes if the consignee is a national government agency; a foundation/relief organization registered with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); a non-stock, non-profit educational institution; or a disabled person.
Under Section 800 (m) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), imported foods donated to or for the account of the Philippine government or any duly registered relief organization not operated for profit, for free distribution among the needy, upon certification by the DSWD or the Department of Education (DepEd), or the Department of Health, as the case may be, are exempted from paying import duties upon compliance with the prescribed formalities.
To avail of the duty and tax exemption on the importation of international donation, a Tax Exemption Indorsement (TEI) must be secured from the Department of Finance’s (DOF) Revenue Office.
The requirements in applying for a TEI include a recommendation/endorsement for duty and/or tax-exempt from the appropriate government agency (e.g. DSWD, National Economic and Development Authority, DepEd, Commission on Higher Education, etc.); letter request addressed to the secretary of finance (Attention: Director IV, Revenue Office); import bill of lading (BL)/airway bill (AWB); import invoice; packing list (PL); Deed of Donation; and other documents, as may be required by DOF.
The approved TEI will be transmitted by DOF’s Central Records Management Division to BOC’s Tax Exempt Division for transmittal to the proper BOC collection district for processing.