Just in time for the holidays, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued rules for the simplified customs clearance procedures covering consolidated shipment of balikbayan (personal effects) boxes entered through any port of entry, sent to families or relatives by qualified Filipinos while abroad (QFWAs).
Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 18-2018, signed by Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on October 11, implements Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 01-2018, issued last August and which provides amended rules on consolidated shipment of balikbayan boxes. CMO 18-2018 took effect immediately.
Balikbayan boxes brought in through means other than consolidated shipments will be covered by a separate CMO.
CAO 01-2018 superseded CAO 05-2016, suspended in October last year to give way to amended regulations following concerns over requirements by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Under CAO 01-2018, QFWAs are allowed to send to their families or relatives in the Philippines balikbayan boxes exempt from the payment of duties and taxes for up to three times in a calendar year, pursuant to Section 800 (g) Chapter 1, Title VIII, and other relevant sections of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). These balikbayan boxes include accompanied or unaccompanied baggage.
A shipment more than the de minimis value of P10,000 is automatically considered as one availment.
Under the new rules, deconsolidators require registration every two years with BOC’s Account Management Office (AMO), in addition to complying with the registration requirements imposed by other government agencies.
The deconsolidator needs to advise the sender not to include prohibited or restricted items, or regulated items in commercial quantities in the balikbayan shipment, and that no individual shipment shall exceed the limits in value and frequency as fixed under the CMTA.
The deconsolidator will be held responsible if consolidated shipment include or contain restricted, prohibited, or any regulated articles in commercial quantities.
The deconsolidator will also ensure that their principals abroad are aware that senders need to provide information and documents so that the shipment can be processed quickly, and that the data provided shall only be used to send the box and shall be covered by the data privacy protection law existing in the country of origin.
The submission of electronic inward foreign manifest (e-IFM) will be governed by relevant existing customs rules and regulations. To ensure uniformity in documentation and to distinguish consolidated balikbayan shipments from other consolidated commercial importations, the words “consolidated balikbayan shipment” need to be indicated in the field for description of goods in the master bill of lading (MBL).
The deconsolidator needs to submit an electronic copy of the consolidated manifest containing the individual house bill of lading (HBL) to BOC through the Advanced Manifest System within the period prescribed.
Under CAO 01-2018, QFWAs have to accomplish, sign, and submit an information sheet to serve as the packing list of the balikbayan box. Under CMO 18-2018, the QFWA sender may request copies of the information sheet from the consolidator or download it directly from the BOC website or from websites of BOC-accredited value-added services providers.
The sender will either print the information sheet and fill out manually sections A, B, and C in triplicate per balikbayan box, or accomplish sections A, B, and C online and print the accomplished form in three sets.
Based on the information sheets submitted in advance by the consolidator, the customs operations officer III will determine whether a sender is qualified to avail of the tax and duty exemption under the de minimis scheme or the privilege under Section 8 (g) of the CMTA, as well as conduct the expedited clearance of balikbayan boxes.
All consolidated balikbayan shipments processed under CMO 18-2018 will undergo mandatory non-intrusive inspection by, or under the supervision of, BOC personnel.
Regardless of the number of goods declaration lodged for a single MBL or master air waybill (MAWB), only one order of payment will be prepared by the COO III for that MBL or MAWB.
Shipments declared as consolidated balikbayan boxes but found to be otherwise will be considered misdeclared and subject to seizure and forfeiture proceedings. – Roumina Pablo
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