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Saturday, September 12, 2015

What Are The Taxable Items In Your Luggage?

The recent statement by the Assistant  Chief of the Bureau of Customs at NAIA has had many Filipinos asking what are the taxable items?

Last month this issue was about the balik-bayan boxes being sent through cargo forwarders, but now everyone is starting to see that even the accompanied  baggage or luggage of Filipinos, both OFW and non-OFW, are being examined right  at the airport- and according to the Assistant Chief of Customs herself, even if it is 1 piece of item, like imported bag, whether OFW or balik-bayan, if they bought the item abroad, they have to pay tax for the taxable items. 

As we look for the list of taxable items or any statement from the government regarding this, we saw the post from the website of Philippine Consulate in Australia and this is what is stated from their website.

"Articles brought in by Filipinos and visitors alike, whether in accompanied or non-accompanied baggage arriving within reasonable time, consisting of used personal effects in non-commercial quantity are not subject to taxes and duties. Other duty-free items are wine and spirits not exceeding two bottles, tobacco and cigarettes not exceeding 200 sticks, cosmetics and perfumery not exceeding one bottle.

Returning Filipinos known as Balikbayan, those who have stayed abroad for more than a year, may in addition bring in duty-free used electric or electronic appliances, one of each kind."
Click the image to enlarge...

So, According to  this government website
what are the non-taxable items on your luggage  or items that are exempt from tax?

For Filipinos and visitors these items are exempt from tax

used personal effects in non-commercial quantity-  
wine and spirits not exceeding two bottles
tobacco and cigarettes not exceeding 200 sticks
cosmetics and perfumery not exceeding one bottle

For OFWs/ Balik-bayan other tax exempt items are:

used electric or electronic appliances, one of each kind.

Should we presume that all other items not listed or mentioned here are therefore taxable? How about new items intended for personal use? 

In addition, if you are sending items through mail or courier like (LBC, DHL, Fedex, etc.) even used items are subject to tax, or in simpler word "all items will be taxed" with an import duty ranging from 3% to 50%.
Furthermore here are other information on the prohibited items as published  from the website:

The following common items are classified as prohibited items and are not allowed to be brought into the Philippines:

  • Onions, potatoes, garlic and cabbages
  • Coffee
  • Used clothing and rags
  • Toy guns
The following commodities are not allowed to be brought into the Philippines:
  • Dynamite, gunpowder, ammunition and other explosives, fire-arms and weapons of war, and parts thereof, except when authorized by law;
  • Written or printed articles in any form containing any matter advocating or inciting treason, or rebellion, insurrection, sedition or subversion against the government of the Philippines, or forcible resistance to any law of the Philippines;
  • Written or printed articles, negatives or cinematographic film, photographs, engravings, lithographs, objects, paintings, drawings or other representation of an obscene or immoral character;
  • Articles, instruments, drugs, substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which advertises or describes or gives directly or indirectly information regarding where, how or by whom unlawful abortion is produced;
  • Roulette wheels, gambling outfits, loaded dice, marked cards, machines, apparatus or mechanical devices used in gambling;
  • Lottery and sweeptakes tickets except those authorised by the Philippines government, advertisement thereof, and lists of drawings therein;
  • Any article manufactured in whole or in part of gold, silver or other precious metals or alloys thereof;
  • Any adulterated or misbranded articles of food or drug;
  • Marijuana, opium or any other narcotics or synthetic drugs;
  • Opium pipes and parts thereof, of whatever material; and
  • All other articles or part thereof, the importation of which is prohibited by law or rules and regulation issued by competent authority.