Implement new tax exemption rules on balikbayan boxes – Angara

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Implement new tax exemption rules on balikbayan boxes – Angara
Senator Juan Edgardo 'Sonny' Angara says this will help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sending home goods for Christmas

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday, November 12, to immediately implement the law on a higher tax exemption on balikbayan boxes as Christmas approaches.

Angara said the BOC should fast-track its administrative order on balikbayan boxes – packages of food, clothing, and other imported items that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send back to the Philippines for special occasions like Christmas. 

He pointed out that the BOC promised to implement its administratative order on this by early December.

Sigurado akong nagsisimula nang mamili ng mga ipapadala ang ating mga kababayan abroad. Kapag naipatupad ang batas na ito, tiyak na maraming OFW ang matutuwa dahil mas mura na ang pagpapadala ng balikbayan box dahil wala ng buwis,” Angara explained.

(I am sure that our countrymen abroad have started buying goods for Christmas. Once this law is implemented, I am sure that many OFWs will be happy because it will be cheaper to send a balikbayan box as it will not be taxed.)

Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, sponsored Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). 

Under the CMTA, the government increased the value of balikbayan box items that should be subject to tax. 

This law hiked the tax exemption ceiling to P150,000 ($3,060) from the previous P10,000 ($200). This means that balikbayan boxes worth below P150,000 will be tax-exempt.

Then president Benigno Aquino III signed the CMTA on May 31, a month before he ended his term. –

*US$1 = P49

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email