President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) which will also increase the tax-exempt value of items sent by overseas Filipino workers to their families back home.
Aquino signed last May 30 the CMTA or Republic Act No. 10863 which generally aims to simplify, modernize and align with global best practices the country’s customs procedures including import clearances and valuations, making the release of goods much faster, regardless of whether you are an individual entrepreneur or a large multinational.
The new law also mandates the use of information and communications technology and other appropriate applications that speed up not only the inner-workings of Customs, but also make it more transparent.
The CMTA reinforces Bureau of Customs’ functions as trade facilitator rather than just being a revenue-generating agency, and imposes higher penalties against smuggling.
Under CMTA which as Senate Bill No. 2968 was sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara, the tax exemption ceiling that the OFWs will be enjoy on their balikbayan boxes will be increased from the present PHP10,000 to PHP150,000 in a year.
On top of the tax and duty-free balikbayan boxes, Filipinos, who have stayed in a foreign country for at least 10 years and are returning to the Philippines, will also be granted tax exemption for the personal and household effects, not exceeding PHP350,000, they will be bringing with them when they return to the country.
As for Filipinos who have lived overseas for at least five years, they will be entitled to tax and duty free personal and household effects amounting to PHP250,000, while those who have stayed abroad for less than five years can enjoy PHP150,000 tax-free ceiling.
The CMTA also raises the de minimis value, which refers to the value of tax and duty free goods and the minimum cost of goods required to undergo formal Customs entry, from the present PHP10 to PHP10,000. (PNA)