Home » Customs & Trade, Ports/Terminals » BOC urges greater use of advance ruling system

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is encouraging importers and foreign exporters to avail of the advance ruling system on issues of valuation and rules of origin (ROO).

According to BOC’s Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG), only a handful of importers and foreign exporters—the latter referring to natural or juridical persons intending to export goods or commodities from a foreign country to the Philippines—have availed of BOC’s advance ruling system since it was implemented under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 30-2016.

An advance ruling is an official written and binding ruling issued by BOC upon the request of an importer, foreign exporter, or authorized agent, and is now part of the law under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). For a specified period prior to an import or export transaction, the ruling gives an assessment of origin or of the treatment to be applied to a certain element of customs value, or of other matters related to the importation or exportation of goods under customs jurisdiction.

AOCG, in a statement, stressed the importance of the advance ruling system “as it provides specific and concrete rules that offer uniformity in the application of customs policies, rules and regulations on customs valuation and rules of origin.”

It added that aside from providing consistency to the assessment of a good’s value, the system also adds “certainty and predictability to international trade and [helps] commercial importers or foreign exporters arrive at informed business decisions.”

CMO 30-2016 implements CAO 03-2016, which covers the establishment of an advance ruling system for customs valuation methodology as well as preferential and non-preferential rules of origin.

The second CAO signed to implement provisions of the CMTA, CAO 03-2016 also covers requests for advance rulings concerning the tariff classification of goods filed with the Tariff Commission for determination, and requests for rulings on other matters related to the importation or exportation of goods as provided under Section 113 of the CMTA, including exportation of goods from the Philippines.

“To ensure that an advance ruling application does not relate to any ongoing trade transaction, a request for Advance Ruling should be submitted to the Bureau at least 90 calendar days before the date of the importation in question, which is the date of lodgement of goods declaration,” CAO 03-2016 states.

According to CMO 30-2016, the request for advance rulings shall be submitted to BOC electronically and application fees paid through bank payment.

Standard procedures and the required application forms for advanced rulings shall be published on BOC’s website.

Advance rulings will also be published on BOC’s website, with any information deemed confidential to be redacted.

A non-refundable advance ruling application fee of P1,500 shall be collected by BOC for each request, with each request relating to only one product or item.

A requesting person may withdraw the request at any time before BOC decides on the application. The application will be terminated on the date the written withdrawal is received.

“A withdrawal of the request shall not prohibit the filing of another request on the same subject,” CMO 30-2016 states.

BOC shall issue the advance ruling or the revalidation of the ruling within 30 working days from the date of receipt of the request, or from submission of additional documents or information. Advance rulings shall be issued in writing addressed to the requesting person, redacting confidential matters, and notifying the requesting person of his right to appeal the decision.

A request for the issuance of an advance ruling may be declined in the following cases: the issue involves a matter pending before the courts or is the subject of an administrative review or under post-clearance audit; a request for the same goods is already filed by the same requesting person; an advance ruling on the same goods has been issued to the same requesting person; or the request is based on a hypothetical situation.

Intentional misinterpretation of any material fact regarding an application for advance ruling shall be penalized by the rejection of the request and the revocation of advance ruling if it has been issued. Also receiving the same penalty is the submission of counterfeit or false or inaccurate documents in supports of a request. – Roumina Pablo

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