MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – We asked Siri what 1,500% of P10,000 was, and her answer was P150,000. And that’s exactly what the Philippine Senate wants in terms in an increase in the tax-exemption for Balikbayan boxes.
The Balikbayan box is part of the Philippine government’s incentive program for Filipino expatriates to encourage them to send goods to their loved ones back home, tax-free. The current tax-free limit is P10,000.
The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill that would not only modernize the Bureau of Customs (BoC) but would also raise the tax-exempt value of balikbayan boxes from P10,000 to P150,000.
Senate Bill No. 2968, known as the Customs Modernization and Tarrif Act (CMTA), was approved by the chamber Monday.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means and sponsor of the bill, said the measure aims to amend the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which is a blueprint for “modern and efficient customs procedures” of the World Customs Organization.
If it becomes law, what does the bill mean for overseas Filipinos?
It means they can stop going to Walmart or Costco to buy bulk items or designer goods to pack into their Balikbayan boxes.
They will now be able to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as buy grocery items from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. It also means that the high-definition, flat screen television sets they send to their families back home can now be as large as 69 inches, as opposed to the usual 29 inches.
It’s really more fun in the Philippines, especially if you have relatives in the U.S. and other countries.