Aquino signs into law expanded
tax exemption for ‘balikbayan’ boxes

June 1 2016 2:55 PM

File image from
File image from

Good news for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs): The tax exemption for “balikbayan” boxes has been expanded under a bill signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday, June 1.

The Customs Modernization and Tariff Act raises the tax exemption ceiling from P10,000 to P150,000.

Under the new law, this means that OFWs can send up to three duty-free balikbayan boxes a year with goods worth up to P150,000 per box.

However, the goods should neither be in commercial quantities nor intended for barter, sale or for hire.

The term “balikbayan” boxes refers to huge cartons used by OFWs for items or personal effects that they either bring or send to relatives and friends in the Philippines.

Also, the law increases to P350,000 the tax exemptions for “personal and household effects” that may be sent to the Philippines by a returning resident who lived abroad for 10 years.

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