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Duty-Free entry of personal effects by incoming travelers

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.

Import duties on items mailed or couriered to the Philippines

The Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) mandates that all items brought into the Philippines are subject to import duties. Items, including used items, brought to the Philippines as parcels mailed through the Australian Post or sent through courier services (LBC, DHL, Fedex, etc.) are subject to tax.

The rate of import duty varies depending on the commodity imported, ranging from 3 to 50%. The schedule of rates is listed under Section 104, Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended.

Valuation for Customs purposes is based on the Fair Market Value of the Philippines (FMV), a system peculiar to the Philippines. The basic principle of the FMV is that the dutiable value of an imported article is the cost of SAME, LIKE, SIMILAR articles as bought and sold or offered for sale freely in the usual wholesale quantities. In the ordinary course of trade on the date of exportation or where there is none on such date, then on the date nearest to the date of exportation in the following principal markets in the descending order of preference:

  • SGS-CRF (Société Générale de Surveillence-Clean Report of Findings);
  • Published value;
  • Domestic wholesale price of such or similar article in Manila or other principal markets in the Philippines.

Certain commodities are exempt from the payment of import duties upon compliance with formalities prescribed and approved by the Secretary of Finance. Section 105 of the TCCP governs what is termed as Conditionally-Free Importations. Other special laws also provide tax and duty-free treatment on certain importations.

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 authorised 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.