Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Solon seeks to increase tax exemption on balikbayan boxes to $2,000

A lawmaker has filed a measure seeking to raise the tax and customs duties exemption of balikbayan boxes from US$500 to US$2,000.
 
House Bill 6156 filed by AGAP party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones calls for the amendment of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines to raise the exemption of OFWs balikbayan boxes and personal effects from tax and custom duties.
 
Under the measure, the personal effects of OFWs and other returning Filipino migrants or residents abroad whose value does not exceed P100,000 will also be exempt from customs duties and taxes.
 
The bill provides that the values for exemption of balikbayan boxes’ contents should be adjusted accordingly every six years following its passage using the Consumer Price Index as published by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
 
Briones, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, was prompted to file the measure after the Bureau of Customs drew flak for its plan of random inspection of balikbayan boxes, with the end goal of collecting more taxes. The directive was eventually scrapped.
 
In seeking the bill’s passage, Briones said OFWs consider balikbayan boxes as “symbolic of their love” because these are packed with “simple items” they picked for their families and loved ones, such as household items, books, and soap.
 
“And now even these small, simple gestures of love has come under the radar of the BOC,” he said.
 
HB 6156 has been referred to the Ways and Means committee for further deliberation. —ALG, GMA News

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