Duty Free Shipment of Personal and Household Effects into the Philippines

1. Under Section 800 (f) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA; provided below), personal and household effectsof persons coming to settle permanently in the Philippines can apply for duty-free treatment. Such persons include:

a. Returning Resident – Filipino nationals who have stayed in a foreign country for a period of at least six (6) months.

b. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)- holders of valid passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and certified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or the Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA) for overseas employment purposes. They cover all Filipinos working in a foreign country under employment contract.

c. Overseas Filipino – Persons coming to settle in the Philippines or Filipinos or their families and descendants who are now residents or citizens of other countries.

d. Balikbayans – an OFW or a former Filipino who has stayed abroad for at least one year..

2. If you qualify on any of the above categories, please be guided by the following:

a. Shipment of your personal and household effects will be exempted from payment of customs duties and taxes as provided for in Section 800 (f) CMTA as provided below

b. However, the person who wishes to avail of such privilege should secure either before departure from country of residence or within 60 days upon his arrival in the Philippines, written approval from the Department of Finance for tax and duty-free importation of household goods.

3. A letter of Request for tax and duty exemption should be addressed to the Philippine Department of Finance Mabuhay Lane Office:

    Mabuhay Lane Office
Address : Podium, DOF Bldg., BSP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila, 1004, Philippines
Telephone No. : (632) 526-8458
Fax No. : 523-4955
Email : helpdesk@dof.gov.ph Website: http://www.dof.gov.ph

4. The following documents should accompany the Request Letter for tax and duty free importation:

4a. Import shipping documents (AWB/BL)

4b. Import commercial documents (Invoice & Packing List)

Photocopies of:

4c. Passport (if Filipino citizen), or for dual citizenship, foreign passport, Oath of Allegiance as Filipino Citizen and Order Granting Filipino Citizenship 13A visa (if foreigner is married to a Filipino citizen) or 13G visa (if former Filipino)

4d. For Filipino citizens, copy of marriage certificate as proof of residency in the foreign country

4e. For 13A and 13G visa holders: copies of Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and Immigration Certificate of Residence (ICR)

4f. Affidavit of Ownership that has undergone consular notarization [click here for procedure] or authentication [click here for procedure].

4g. Authority of Representative (in lieu of consignee)

4h. Contract of Employment 6. Employment Contract (Certified True Copy)

4i. Tour of Duty (Certified True Copy)

4j.  Birth Certificate (copy)

4k. Marriage Contract (if married to Filipino)

5. Applicants for tax and duty-free importation should be ready with the original copies of documents mentioned in paragraph 4 above for presentation to the Department of Finance or Bureau of Customs when claiming your goods or as otherwise required.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF DUTY AND TAX FREE PRIVILEGE OF RETURNING FILIPINOS/BALIKBAYANS?

 The extent varies as follows:

a. Returning Resident. Personal and household effects belonging to returning residents including household appliances, jewelry, precious stones, and other goods of luxury which were formally declared and listed before departure and identified before the District Collector when exported from the Philippines by such returning residents; personal and household effects including wearing apparel, goods of personal adornment, toilet goods, instruments related to one’s profession and other personal and household effects of the same kind except luxury items. Returning residents shall have tax and duty exemption on personal and household effects provided that:

    • It is not in commercial quantity;
    • It is not intended for barter, sale or for hire; and
    • Limited to the value of:

(i) Three hundred fifty thousand pesos (Php. 350,000.00) for those who have stayed in a foreign country for at least ten (10) years and have not avail of this privilege within the ten (10) years prior to returning resident’s arrival;

(ii) Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (Php. 250,000.00) for those who have stayed in a foreign country for at least five (5) years,  but not more than ten (10) years and have not avail of this privilege within five (5) years prior to returning resident’s arrival

(iii) One hundred fifty thousand pesos (Php. 150,000.00) for  those who have stayed in a foreign country for less than five (5) years and have not avail of this privilege within six (6) months prior to returning resident’s arrival

b. Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). In addition to the privileges granted to Returning Residents as described above, an OFW may be allowed to bring in, tax and duty – free home appliances and other durables, limited to one of every kind once in a given calendar year accompanying them on their return or arriving within sixty (60) days after every OFWs return providing further that it shall not exceed the value of one hundred fifty thousand pesos (Php.150,000.00).

Residents of the Philippines, OFWs, or other Filipinos while residing abroad or upon their return to the Philippines shall be allowed to bring in or sent to their families and relatives in the Philippines balikbayan boxes which shall be exempt from applicable duties and taxes imposed under the NIRC of 1997; provided that:

  • balikbayan boxes contain personal and household effects only and shall not be in commercial quantities nor intended for barter, sale or for hire;
  • it shall not exceed one hundred fifty thousand pesos (Php. 150,000.00)
  • this privilege is only availed of  up to three (3) times in a calendar year; and
  • any amount in excess of the allowable non – dutiable value shall be subject to the applicable duties and taxes

c. Overseas Filipino. Professional instruments and implements, tools of trade occupation or employment, wearing apparel, domestic animals, and personal household effects in quantities and of the class suitable to the profession or rank, or position of the persons importing said items.

It shall be exempt from payment of Customs duties and taxes provided that the bureau may, upon the production of satisfactory evidence that such persons are actually coming to settle in the Philippines and that the goods are brought from their former place of abode except vehicles, aircrafts, machinery.

  • WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS ATTACHED TO TAX EXEMPTION PRIVILEGES?

The following are the conditions for availment of duty and tax privileges;

  1. Presentation to the Bureau of Customs of a favorable written endorsement from the department  which controls the availment of duty and tax free exemptions.
  2. The goods extended duty and tax free privilege are not to be sold, bartered nor traded.
  3. The quantity is not commercial.
  4. The goods are not prohibited importations. (Prohibited/Restricted Importations)
  5. For regulated items, endorsements from the proper regulatory agency. (Pet/Animals & Household Plants)

 

Section 800 (f) Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA; RA 10863):

Personal and household effects belonging to returning residents including household appliances, jewelry, precious stones, and other goods of luxury which were formally declared and listed before departure and identified under oath before the District Collector when exported from the Philippines by such returning residents upon their departure therefrom or during their stay abroad; personal and household effects including wearing apparel, goods of personal adornment, toilet goods, instruments related to one’s profession and analogous personal or household effects, excluding luxury items, vehicles, watercrafts, aircrafts and animals purchased in foreign countries by residents of the Philippines which were necessary, appropriate, and normally used for their comfort and convenience during their stay abroad, accompanying them on their return, or arriving within a reasonable time which, barring unforeseen and fortuitous events, in no case shall exceed sixty (60) days after the owner’s return.

For purposes of this section, the phrase “returning residents” shall refer to nationals who have stayed in a foreign country for a period of at least six (6) months. Returning residents shall have tax and duty exemption on personal and household effects: Provided, That:

(1) It shall not be in commercial quantities;

(2) It is not intended for barter, sale or for hire; and

(3) Limited to the FCA or FOB value of:

(i) Three hundred fifty thousand pesos (₱350,000.00) for those who have stayed in a foreign country for at least ten (10) years and have not availed of this privilege within ten (10) years prior to returning resident’s arrival;

(ii) Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (₱250,000.00) for those who have stayed in a foreign country for a period of at least five (5) but not more than ten (10) years and have not availed of this privilege within five (5) years prior to returning resident’s arrival; or

(iii) One hundred fifty thousand pesos (₱150,000.00) for those who have stayed in a foreign country for a period of less than five (5) years and have not availed of this privilege within six (6) months prior to returning resident’s arrival.

Any amount in excess of the above-stated threshold shall be subject to the corresponding duties and taxes under this Act.

Every three (3) years after the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of Finance shall adjust the amount herein stated to its present value using the CPI as published by the PSA.

In addition to the privileges granted under the immediately preceding paragraph, returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OPWs) shall have the privilege to bring in, tax and duty-free, home appliances and other durables, limited to one of every kind once in a given calendar year accomp anying them on their return, or arriving within a reasonable time which, barring unforeseen and fortuitous events, in no case shall exceed sixty (60) days after every returning OFW’s return upon presentation of their original passport at the port of entry: Provided, That any amount in excess of FCA value of one hundred fifty thousand pesos (₱150,000.00) for personal and household effects or of the number of duty-free appliances as provided for under this section, shall be subject to the corresponding taxes and duties; Provided, Further, That every three (3) years after the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of Finance shall adjust the amount herein stated to its present value using the CPI as published by the PSA;

See Also: Customs Administrative Order 6-2016 [pdf]