200% Customs Tax, Only in the Philippines!

I hate to be branded anti-nationalistic but I cannot believe what has just transpired within the past two weeks:

A  friend and I decided to do online selling of accessories. We searched the web and found one reputable supplier in China. She sells the products for about 1 to 2 bucks a pop. We ordered a hundred pieces and she sent it via DHL. The package came to Manila in less than 48 hours. Impressive.

After a delay of 48 hours we called  DHL. Customs was holding my package. No report as to what they were doing with it.

After 5 days, we were pissed. We live in Olongapo. The Customs office in Pasay was like 4 hours away. We could have easily have picked it up but we were optimistic that the package will be delivered to our door. After the fifth clearance delay on the DHL tracking site, we finally received an email:

Value upgraded from USD 51.50 to USD 346.00 by customs, please provide purchase order or telegraphic transfer if not agree to customs assessment.

WTF! Upgraded to 346 USD! What the hell did they see in the package? Last time I checked, I didn’t order half an ounce of gold to be shipped to me. Customs must have taken a peak onto my package and tought that they were real pearls and real stones! 346 USD!

The email contains an excel worksheet which reads as follows:

INFORMAL COMPUTATION OF DUTY AND TAX



COST 346.00
FREIGHT 21.00
Insurance & Other Charges 2%(cost) 4.00
DUTIABLE VALUE USD usd 371.00
x rate of exchange
46.023
DUTIABLE VALUE PHP
php 17,074.53
X rate of duty
10%
CUSTOMS DUTY Php
php 1,707.45
TAXABLES
DUTIABLE VALUE PHP 17,074.53
CUSTOMS DUTY 1,707.45
BROKERAGE FEE 700.00
CUSTOMS DOCUMENTARY STAMPS 265.00
excise tax 3,414.00
IMPORT PROCESSING FEE 250.00
LANDED COSTS PHP
php 23,410.99
x vat rate 12%
VAT php 2,809.32
SUMMARY
CUSTOMS DUTY 1,707
VALUE ADDED TAX 2,809
EXCISE TAX 3,414
IMPORT PROCESSING FEE 250
TOTAL DUTIES & TAXES Php 8,180
DUTY HANDLING FEE 280.00
INFORMAL ENTRY DECLARATION 298.60
STORAGE CHARGES 448.52
COLLECTORS CLEARANCE
TOTAL FEES Php Php 9,207.12

A tax and charges equivalent to 200 dollars! I paid my supplier 100 dollars and the PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT charged me for 200% what I paid for it! This experience is a rarity. TAX A PHILIPPINE DOCTOR 200%. And I was only trying to venture into business for the 3rd time. I got scammed twice. Now that I finally thought it was finally going to be a big break, i get scammed by MY GOVERNMENT.

What does “INFORMAL” mean? Why inform me after 5 days then charge me for 5 days? Informal Entry declaration? Import Processing Fees?

I informed my supplier right away. She told me this was the first time her products got taxed that high. She was apologetic but really she don’t need to. This kind of things happen ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES!

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For entrepreneurs and startups viewing this post I suggest you see my latest article:
How to Circumvent Hefty Customs Tax and Start Your eCommerce Business Right

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454 thoughts on “200% Customs Tax, Only in the Philippines!

  1. hi!
    can i ask, if i sent a package from china to the philippines full of bikini sets(13-20pcs) via fedex and i declare like 5$ value, do you think i will still get taxed a lot?

    • a friend sent me a Christmas present. an agent from the DHL company came asking me to pay for P560.00 which is higher than the price of the sent item. He didn’t bring the gift, too. He just asked me to pay and he will return with the package. It was really irritating so I didn’t claim the package.

  2. i purchase a battery from china and it cost 10.82USD ..the parcel is shipped by this TNT. the expected arrival date is Aug. 2,2014 but until now the parcel not yet arrived. I dont have any idea if the custom still hold or its in the TNT Custody.. just someone call me from TNT asking me to pay first the tax fee of php1,877.51 equivalent to 42.73USD which is much higher than the item cost value…

    i was really surprise with this one so i search the web and luckily got into this blog.. thanks very informative
    let me ask you guys a quick question…
    What happen if i will not claim the parcel because of this tax fee which is very high? i will consider it as loss.

  3. Hello, i have been ordering items from malaysia, china, hk, and singapore. My orders only cost around $20. First order, fedex charged me 1.2k, second order dhl charged me 1.4k, third order, dhl charged me 1.5k and fourth order none(thank God), 5th order fedex tracking shows it is currently delayed due to customs clearance grrrrr. Someone from fedex called me and asked for my name coz they wanted to know the spelling. I hope its just the spelling and nothing about tax. I will really complain if they charge me more than 1k! Their tax computation is not consistent. Grrrr! Ill update u guys.

    • Today is my package’s delivery date. No movement pa rin. Still showing clearance delay. I called fedex and they said she’ll contact the person checking the package and that person will call me to give me an update about the package. What!? That’s my package and I have the right to get it from them! Today is the delivery date and I cannot afford receiving it late!!! Grrrrrr!!!

    • Hello everyone, just an update. I got my package on aug 13, 8 days delayed. Fedex is just a lame company. I had to call them on aug 13 to tell them that my package has been released. Wow! I myself have to tell them that just so they can ship my package. Asides from that, fedex charged me for storage fee! Vat! And stamps! Fedex is obviously doubling the charges because bureau of customs only charged me for 687php. Tsk tsk

  4. Guys I’m planning to start an online business. Ang i-sesell ko mga clothes & shoes. Sa tingin niyo san ako makakamura mag pa-ship kung galing US yung pagbibilhan ko? Kunyare nasa 10kg ganun ang weight ng box.

  5. my concern is why should I pay the tax in Philippines instead in my country. yesterday I received a call from Costum of Philippines that they hold my package and I should pay tax first but I can’t find my tracking number to get the information. that parcel is a gift from a man I meet online but he sent me fotos of him and his only daughter. He told me that he will be on business trip on high see to Venezuela. If there is any victim like me just reply to my mail. but I won’t sent any money to the package I don’t know God be with me on this. Always I traking the parcels but today I don’t found a traking number. …. This is real or not… the sender is from Uk and I really believe him. Please help me guys.

    • DHL staff and their customer service will always say THEY CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT IS THE CUSTOM OFFICER WHO ASSESS THE BOX AND GIVE THE CHARGE NOT DHL. For me, DHL is one way of corrupt fucking business of FEElippine Custom. The package will be considered as abandoned if the receiver will not pay for the custom charge. Now I called it as DHL donation box and I considered my package as my donation for the death of the person whoever given a high custom charge fro my box. I hope he/she will enjoy the stuffs of my box while he/she is still alive. Whoever is he/she, condolence in advance.

  6. WOW FEELIPPINES talaga. Ako pag anim ko na na padala sa DHL from Kandahar Air Field to Philippines. The sixth one is my last and lesson learned. Custom charge is too much by which the content of my box is just OLD PERSONAL BELONGINGS like used baby cloth and toy that was given by my colleague, old rain boots an etc and $627.00 is the amount declaration then the custom charge is P10,546.00. How come there charges is not consistent? My previous packages which contain Nikon DSLR Camera, Laptop and external hard drive, I used the same box but the amount declaration is more than $1300.00 when it was delivered to my home…the custom charge is only Php 550.00, the same story I declared it as OLD PERSONAL BELONGINGS. I call the customer service and they said that they cannot do something about it. The custom checking is random and I was lucky from my previous package. What kind of reason is that? Unjustified. I will never ever use DHL anymore, it’s a nightmare. E consider ko na lang na abuloy ko ang pinadala ko sa lahat ng tao na nag check ng package ko lalo na sa taga custom. Only in the FEELIPPINES matatagpuan ang mga malalaking buwaya.

  7.   Hi guys ask ko lang po i met a guy from online then he sent package to me in this courier site http://globalshippingservices.ueuo.com/ then after that parcel came yesterda and I saw in their website that my parcel is in sort facility in the philippines waiting for tax to be cleared,Then someone called from custom telling me I need to pay 10,000 pesos for air cargo tax and I need to settle the payment within the day ,I wanna know if this is scam?I. told them can I go there in custom to pay it personally but t Imelda delposo a custom officer told me I can’t go there just pay thru western union or bank,I want to call custom to verify this matter its hard for me to contact them ,guys can you please help me where to call about this matter for verification if the parcel is really exist? and they sent this email to me stating that:       We are here to inform you that your package has reached(PHILIPPINES )but it is in transits right now because your parcel was on  hold. You need to pay some Charges of Certain Commissions which is for Airport Insurance Tax Fee before our office will release your parcel.This Taxes must be paid immediately through our Company.The Clearance of your package will be deducted to your Tax payment.This is According to the Mode of Operations in The Sector For the Courier and Parcel Delivery. We have already taken the charges of  this Package, a Commission of the Total Sum is(10,000Php ) has been Charge on this Parcel for the Airport Insurance  and Tax Clearance. After you settle everything, your Package shall be release to  http://globalshippingservices.ueuo.com/  Agent to deliver it to your your Home address or any destination within this day. We are expecting  for your maximum cooperation regarding with this matter. Once you settle your airport tax payment, the receipt will be scan to your email immediately and   the agent of the cargo will be the one to sign some documents with us. Please, you have to be at your home address once you settle your payment for the delivery.  We do  accept western union with bank to bank transaction.

    Our staff is ready to assist you anytime with the information of the airport tax payment.  Make sure you  are in the address that was written here in your package with  any valid ID.  The agent will give you some documents to sign  as a receiver before he will handle your package to you,  to avoid any inconvenience. Please check all your items very well if is complete before the agent will go back.
     
    This charges for Tax Payment is pay-able through:
    BANK TO BANK, WESTERN UNION OR ANY NEAREST OUTLET THAT YOU CAN SETTLE YOUR PAYMENT.
                   
    CHARGES:

    Customs Processing     Fee            1,000.00 Php       Not Paid
    Customs Administrative  Fee           6,000.00 Php       Not Paid
    Customs Clearance          Fee         3,000.00 Php       Not Paid
     ———————————————————————————————————
                            Total Amount  :       (10,000Php)   

    Please note: This e-mail message was sent from a notification. We accept incoming e-mail. Thanks!!!
     

        
    CLEARANCE DEPARTMENT
      Mary Grace C. Besmonte

    BUREAU OF CUSTOM  FINANCE

    • This story projects a huge red blinking sign reading “SCAM” to me…
      This is a good rule of thumb – if anyone you don’t know personally mentions the words “Western Union”, it’s a scam!

    • Hi, i just want to ask if you are able to receive the package?
      Because i have a friend who expects a package(2boxes, 1flat TV, a diamond ring, and some cash daw) from her BF which was sent through the same website “globalshippingservices.ueuo.com” but she never receivd anything. I did a quick research online, found out that “eueo.com” is a free webhosting site and many reviews say that it’s a fake site or scam. I dont know what to belive either.
      Though, my friend recievd all necesary info like OR/tracking# which she tracked online, and confirmd that was shipped to the Philippines. She did not receive any call from any office/person regarding her package. Since nothing delived on Aug.12, she tracked the package on the website Aug.13, and now the tracking# displays no results.
      This was her first time receivng a package from UK, and she didn’t know what to do.. Until today, no contact from any office and no package was deliverd!

      We have high hopes that someone from this thread can assist or help us regarding this.
      Here are some details of the transaction:

      Sender:Michael Collins
      Address: _ _ city, Birmingham State, West Midlands Country, UK

      Parcel Registration Aug8,2014.. Expectd delivery on Aug.12, 2014.
      OR/tracking#:1144990163892
      Accreditation#AU-122-0365644
      Serial number#WSC,AU00376986

      Receiver:Jasmin Sonido
      Address: Poblacion, Compostela Cebu 6003

      Any reply on this or help will be greatly appreciated.
      You may directly contact us at 09332722200.
      I’m confident leaving our numbr since most of us are victims here, and i’m certain that everyone knows how it feels being scammed.
      Thank you very much in advance!

    • Ung DHL nag implement na nang storage fee basta lampas ng tatlong araw… IN my case, the package arrive Friday and Customs release it by Monday, so when DHL charge me extra ₱625 for the storage fee, I called them and raised the issue that Sat and Sun should not be counted. Although they didn’t agree with me, I was surprised that they removed/deducted the storage fee when I picked it up from their local branch. :)

  8. Nakakainis talaga… ako nga kanina kararating palang ng shoes na nabili ko galing Hongkong na $40, $50 ung customs charge .. WTF nakakainis.
    -_- Magkano pa kaya ung art book na nbili ko mula Canada na $50 .. mamaya mabutas na ng tuluyan wallet ko sa susunod na customs charge

  9. It seems that this thread is still active, ask ko lang po sana. Bibili sana akong Iphone sa Japan, the problem is mata-tax po diba ito pag dinala dito sa philippines? paano kaya malulusutan yun? yung di malalaman ng customs na may laman na gadget yung package? May nakagawa na po ba dito nun?

  10. ​Hey everyone, I contacted Bernard Ojas who posted his email address on this thread last February 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm. I just wish he’d be able to reply in time.

    I’d like to know if a $61.69 in total of personal medicine (2 bottles of Lactoferrin, 6 capsules of kid vitamins, 3 bags of tea and 7 capsules of Cognizin plus $8 DHL shipping) is worth P1870+ in taxes and dues as what the representative from customs told me.

    I want to be informed if this route is the best way to go moving forward. These are maintenance medication I take for my Fibromyalgia. Darn.

    • Hello po, kakakuha ko lang din sakin. I got a Frozen doll na worth 18.20 lang sa box pero yung customs ang chinarge ung price ng tag ng toy na 21.99 na hndi natangal nung pinadala…

      This is my first time na magbayad ng malaki, usually 50 pesos lang talga. Sabi ng customs pag prices 10 dollars and above daw at since RARE daw ung item ko… Someone clarify this po kung totoo sabi nya sakin na 10 dollars and above, so from 21.99 with exchange rate po na 43.849 today = 964.23

      In your case po na 61.69 x 43.849. Based sa computation na hawak ko galing sa papel nila, 1400.65 ang sayo. I don’t know po kung mataas ang exchange rate nila sayo

      San nyo po ba inorder tong item? US po ba, contact me po if you’re going to order again…

      Ako naman kinakabahan kasi I won an auction on ebay worth 41 + 6.99 shipping. Based sa computation ngayon 1182.84 ang babayaran ko, ano ba yan kalahati n ng binili ko…

      Ang masama kasi ung FIXED price nila na 515
      Customs Documentary Stamp 250
      Import Processing Fee 250
      BIR stamp 15.

  11. I bought a $30 headphones and Fedex charged me $41 for customs duties and tax! I am not paying them! I bought several items online but this is the first time I used fedex and this is the first I’m charged that much. I used to pay Php50 for my parcels on PhilPost. This is just crazy. For real they are charging more than the worth of the item. Never again Fedex.

  12. I have a question po. Kapag ba nahold ng customs yung parcel do I need to go there and claim it personally. Im from quezon province po kasi and masyadong hassle kapag ganon/. Im planning to open an online shop po kasi and my supplier is from Korea. Natatakot tuloy akong simulan yung shop ko kasi baka mahold yung items ko at pagbayarin ako ng sobrang mahal na TAX at makapag abuno ng sobra sobra. Thru EMS po yung courier ko. Pls answer me guys. Well appreciated if you help me :D Thank You

  13. HI GUYS!
    i was planning to buy this item, its just a top hat that is only valued $9.95 plus a ship fee of 16.95
    my question is if i buy this will the customs hold it? i’m really scared on maybe experiencing that 200% tax i really need this item.. here is the link of the item http://www.ebay.ph/itm/Mens-Victorian-Steampunk-Tuxedo-Black-Costume-Top-Hat-/350746885994?pt=US_Costume_Accessories&hash=item51aa24bf6a&_uhb=1

    this my first time to buy in an international seller so i’m a bit scared on what’s gonna happen =(
    any replies would be greatly appreciated
    thank you and Godbless

    • expect a fee between ₱1500 – ₱2500. In my case, since it arrived Friday and then Customs’ clearance(yes it takes 2 days) and delivery at my place was Monday, so DHL didn’t charged a storage fee of around ₱680.

    • I also had my first time to buy on ebay from an international seller. It depends sa post office or sa custom kung mapag tripan ang parcel mu. Ako kasi CD lang binibili ko and maliit lang parcel. Yung una kong binili, isa muna and wala naman akong binayaran na fee upon pick up sa local post office sa Taguig. Then a week later, another parcel came na 3 CD and ayun, sinisingil ako ng fee na icoxompute nila which depends sa price nung item. Luckily for me, I just bought those 3 CDs for $1.67 all in all. And ayaw maniwala ng officer dun sa post office. I had my tablet that time and pinakita ko sa ebay website ung price nung mga items. Ayun, binigay lang naman. I think pwde mu nman un gawin if sinisingil ka ng pagka mahal-mahal..

  14. http://www.rips.gov.ph/?page_id=459

    Report Corruption Now
    RIPS gathers information from a variety of sources about actual or suspected corruption. We welcome any information about suspected corrupt conduct.

    Any Request for personal details are optional. Be aware that messages conveyed by e-mail can be intercepted, traced or recorded by others. Employers and government agencies have a right to monitor and access their workplace e-mail systems. The privacy, confidentiality and anonymity of communications to the RIPS by e-mail cannot be guaranteed.

  15. Good day!

    Sorry to hear that. I had the same incident as yours mine was valued 23k for 100pcs items just some headsets and tax is 29k. This happened way back 2011. What i did was “sold” it to somebody for 29k plus 10k .

  16. Naalala ko may napanood ako noon sa 700 Club…matagal na. Isang reformed customs official. He’s a self-confessed corrupt person who used to do yang ganyan…yung pahihirapan ang goods kapalit ng malaking halaga.

  17. It depends on the item, if its commercial or personal. I used to buy online film equipments and i only pay 50 pesos for the items 100 usd or less. If its for business, check the Tariff for the specific item/s.

  18. I always get the same experience whenever I order products in china, Our Government charges are too high compared to the price I bought the item for. One example of this is being charge 8 US dollars for each free wig cap I got from the supplier , when it only cost 5pesos here in the PHILIPPINEs. They really find ways to increase the TAX even though there is nothing to increase, they will say “THEY CHANGED the box” and it cost +300 pesos +500 each day that the package stays in their stockroom, when all they do is trying to hold the package for longer day so they can charge more and more :/ It’s sad to start a business in the Philippines

  19. we have our own experience din po…nagpada po ng package yung grand parents ng hubby ko from japan…mga 3pcs. toys lng nman po..for our new baby and para sa bday ng anak kong panganay…
    then we also recieved a letter n yung package nmin ay dun n nmin makukuha sa main office..that was friday so we dicided na kunin nlang yun sa monday…so monday morning pumunta n yung hubby ko and mother in law ko sa pasay…after an hour( according to my hubby)pinapasok daw sya sa isang kwarto tpos pinakita n daw sa kanya yung package yun nga 3 pcs ng toys and a letter….tpos yung ng check n daw mismo ng bukas ng gift…after that lumabas n daw cla…so akala nia ok n mkukuha n nia yung package…after another long waiting..nainis n daw yung mother in law ko kea tinanong n daw nia kung bket dpa binibgay sa kanila yung package..pnapasok daw cla ulet sa kwarto and closed door snabi sa knila n they have to pay 2000 pesos to get the package… so my hubby and her mom got shocked bec. the the package only cost 10.000 yen so 4000 plus lng yung equivalent nun dto… tpos sisingilin cla ng 2000 pesos so parang binili n nila yung mga laruan. and take note the computation was only a hand written.. kea galit n galit yung byenan ko… kung d daw kayang bayaran yun that day balikan nlang daw yun dhil 30 days nman day yun after that isosoli nlang daw yun sa nagpadala …i wonder kung isosoli nla yun…grabe tlga imagine 3 pirasong laruan n para sa mga bata gusto p nlang pagkakitaan… ngayun lng daw na experience ng byenan ko yun dhil lagi nman daw nagpapadala yun eh dretso sa bhai nla yung package… last year nga nkatanggap din kmi ng mga laruan para sa anak nmin para sa bday nia…diretso sa bhai nmin yung package…2013 lng yun after a year gnito n…so iniisip nmin kung anong magandang gwin… bayaran nlang nmin o ireklamo nlang nmin sa sa tulfo brothers or imbestigador…para madala yang mga tiwaling government officials n yan….amp…
    any suggestions po ?tnx

    • Brigada Siete approached me to help in an expose 3 years ago. On the day of my supposed interview, they packed up and without saying a word on why, they cancelled the whole thing after talking to customs officials. I don’t know if Mike Enriquez or the Tulfo brothers can do anything. Your first shipment was probably treated as a gift but when they saw a “pattern,” they charge you tax on the second or so shipment. That is usually what happened to all the commenters here. Some are actual small scale business but others are expecting free meds from Australian Red Cross, the customs charged them anyway. A lot of people are angry at Customs and we need their explanation because I can’t find it in the fine print in door to door international services too.

    • Those people there in Pasay Post Office are scums of the earth. I bought parts for my car from the UK which cost P11,000. They charged me over P6000 for whatever they wanted. Lesson learned. DO NOT USE PHILIPPINE POSTAL SERVICE.

    • The computation of is correct. The main question is did you provide dhl the documents they needed? The invoice, purchase order and the payment slip are proof of the correct amount of the package. If these documents where provided, dhl will be able to justify the declared value of the goods and customs will compute it as usd 51.50 and not usd 346.

  20. Now I am expecting the worst! I only bought a box of dandelion root tea for $30+shipping fee $121! so will be expecting custom tax to be near $300? wow!!!
    From DHL website
    “Next Step:
    Clearance processing will proceed as soon as authorization or pre-payment is received. Importer is advised to contact DHL Customer Service if further details are required. A DHL representative shall attempt to contact the importer or shipper if required.”

  21. according to BIR website : http://www.bir.gov.ph/taxcode/2083.htm
    it’s only 20% tax. not 200%. i ordered for fake jewelries. they are going to ship my package here in Visayas on Monday. Do i have a choice? i mean do i need to pay for that 2,302.45php for duties and taxes? i think that’s too much. I need an advise regarding this thing. Could someone help me. I am confused.

    • NO! The fees are clearly 400% or more… if you sound like you have an American name. I sent a $26 item, and wound up paying over $250 in fees, taxes, delivery, pickup, customs, fees, and more fees. It’s far better to just put whatever you want in a balikbayan box, regardless of the size. Even if you ship a small simple watch… use the huge box instead. Fill the box with styrofoam. It’s an evil racket, and there’s no way around it without bribes and payoffs.

  22. SEC. 150. Non-essential Goods. – There shall be levied, assessed and collected a tax equivalent to twenty-percent (20%) based on the wholesale price or the value of importation used by the Bureau of Customs in determining tariff and customs duties, net of excise tax and value-added tax, of the following goods:

    (a) All goods commonly or commercially known as jewelry, whether real or imitation, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones and imitations thereof; goods made of, or ornamented, mounted or fitted with, precious metals or imitations thereof or ivory (not including surgical and dental instruments, silver-plated wares, frames or mountings for spectacles or eyeglasses, and dental gold or gold alloys and other precious metals used in filling, mounting or fitting the teeth); opera glasses and lorgnettes. The term ‘precious metals’ shall include platinum, gold, silver and other metals of similar or greater value. The term ‘imitations thereof shall include platings and alloys of such metals;

    (b) Perfumes and toilet waters;

    (c) Yachts and other vessels intended for pleasure or sports.

    from : http://www.bir.gov.ph/taxcode/2083.htm

    i do have a problem regarding that thing. i ordered jewelries from China and it cost me 14.30USD plus a shipping cost 12.99USD via FedEx. They called me this afternoon to informed me that i have to pay 2,302.45php for my items. i was confused then, and ask myself that my total bill is only 1,364.50php including the shipping cost. then i have to pay them 2,302.45php? that’s to much. If ever i refused to pay that amount can you tell me what’s going to happen then? thanks for you reply.

    • If you don’t pay, the customs will charge you the current holding fee per day until you do. On one of the infamous comments here, Gimel from Customs said that you have to pay then file to complain. Then I suggested you pray they listen afterwards.
      The best is to go there and pick it up and learn how to start an import business with all the necessary licenses to get customs off your back. The reasoning they will give you is that your package is undeclared and some unclear stuff why they charge you retail per item on your parcel. You actually need another document from your supplier: the Certificate of Origin. I posted this on another post. Good luck Cindy and don’t give up and try not to get angry on your first talk with Customs.

      You’re in the right track in ecommerce but customs is a hard wall to go through.

  23. I buy a product from online store in china, The cost of product was 26$ and i paid for shipping fee around 16$. which they mentioned and i willingly paid for it. Even i was expecting some kind of tax and custom fee. But suddenly FedEx called me and ask me for a estimated amount to be around 23$. i was totally socked as custom fee they asked me to pay was almost the same amount with the product. Plz anyone who knows or has experienced importing a sim card from china store to Cebu, Philippines, can help me giving information about the tax allocated for importing goods like that and how to handle if its a fraud asking almost 100% custom tax from FedEx branch. Thank you.

  24. You got off cheap! I paid over P19,000 for an item costing no more than P1,000. It’s always been that way. The only way around it is to find a place that ships in a standard babalikan box and will ship for a standard fee… often much less than any other way to ship… regardless of size.

    They are scammers, liars, cheats, thieves… and it is “Normal.” It’s part of their corrupt culture. I finally gave up and returned to the USA… I just couldn’t stand it any more. It’s everywhere from the doorman, the cab driver, the merchants, the tricycle driver, the sari-sari stand… even among family members. It’s pathetic. I just got tired of looking out for pick-pockets, thieves, cheats, etc., every time I left my house. Even the lawyers are liars, and cheats. You can’t trust any of them. ZERO!

    • Well, I still believe there are good people out there even if bad things like what you said has also happened to me. It has and every time something gets stolen from me or I get duped, I am set back big. But if you think that there are no honest people out here, you’re wrong. Because I’m honest and that’s why I made this blog and this post to warn people of all the bad people out there and provide solutions. I am, as you said, surrounded by scammers, cheats, thieves, and liars. But change can start one person at a time. If I can infect one person who reads this blog with the right way to do business, I’ve done my part to change the system. Corruption can be fought and one day, everything will fall into place. If there is one person here I hope you could trust nicedad1, I hope I would be the first!

    • Why did you even pay P19,000 for an item worth P1000? Is it THAT important? You could’ve just let them have the item since the item value vs your tax is way off balance. This is either exaggerated or idiotic. Maybe both.

  25. Ummm hi~~
    This is the first time i do online shopping and I am about to buy something in e-bay that cost upto $7.00. By you mean 200%….do I have to pay $14 to be able to get my item?

  26. Hi ZeroMD,

    I will be having my first shipment of items from Korea. All will be thru LBC courier. I’ve read so many blogs incuding yours and boiled down that balikbayan boxes are the ones safe from customs. I have some items in commercial quantity (30pcs and 10pcs of each kind). My supplier is willing to pack all stuff in balikbayan box. I’ve also had chat conversation with the LBC Korea agent and she mentioned that I do not need to worry about customs. She convinced me that all boxes coming from LBC Korea will remain sealed and they would not allow other people to open it.

    This is my first shipment and will possibly help me start a small online business. The items are car accessories. Can you tell me what your thoughts on this? I am kinda skeptical about the shipment but still hopeful that it will be a good one.

    Thank you,
    barce59

    • Hi guys, may I please know your thoughts on this? I have actually placed 2 orders and the first balikbayan box is in transit already with LBC, I hope it would not encounter any issues. Thank you!

    • I don’t think 200% is always the case, but getting taxed for any item that looked highly important (jewelry, bags, accessories, electronics, and the like) are more prone to be held back in customs. This frequently happens when packages get sent during holidays (Holy Week and Christmas seasons, to be precise… see a pattern here? Heh).

      I’ve seen a number of reports already in the BoC from TV and radio shows. It’s even considered the most corrupt of all government sections by many, yet they have this “immunity” and always gets away with almost anything.

  27. I have paid 100% to 500% on simple, cheap things, in all categories to the Philippines. They are all rip-off scammers… lying, cheating, thieving cheats. All of them.

  28. William says:
    February 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I asked my aunt who’s an accountant for a long time now.. she said that items sent from abroad are tax-free if for personal use. So I guess it includes “gifts” and “personal effects”, in reasonable amounts of course (i.e. not in bulk quantity). I believe her.

    -Yes it is sir William..Personal effects are free of duty if the item is below php 10,000, not in commercial quantity, and must be shipped one of each kind for a certain time..

    BERNARD OJAS HERE, A LICENSED CUSTOMS BROKER YOU CAN EMAIL AT “ojasbernard@yahoo.com” for free consultation on FAQ at airfreight customs clearance.

  29. My experience with shipping to the Philippines has been slow and expensive. I have seen duty in the range of 300% at the whim of the customs office. It’s a corrupt nation, full of corrupt people who just don’t care. It shouldn’t take 6 weeks to get a bill from Manila to Ilocos Sur. I just don’t see how a country can operate like this. I was told that being a liar, dishonest, corrupt and a cheat is “part of the culture.” How disgusting is that?

  30. I asked my aunt who’s an accountant for a long time now.. she said that items sent from abroad are tax-free if for personal use. So I guess it includes “gifts” and “personal effects”, in reasonable amounts of course (i.e. not in bulk quantity). I believe her.

  31. my girlfriend in the US will send me some stuff worth maybe above 150$. they are really gifts and not in bulk quantity. im really scared because BOC might tax me to ridiculous amounts. she have sent me already twice before, but both below 100$ and i only paid 50pesos both times. what do you think?

  32. By the way, shipper used DHL to deliver the item. Do they even have the right to hold your package if you don’t pay the necessary charges?

  33. Item purchased: 1 imitation fashion jewelry
    Declared value: USD 65
    Amount Payable: P3,491

    *Customs Tax – P2890
    *Duty Handling Fee – P250
    *Informat Entry Declaration – P30
    *Customs Documentary Stamps – P265
    *Notarial Fee – P20

    Total: P3455
    Tax; P36

    GRAND TOTAL: P3491.00

    i don’t know how PH Customs computed this. but I think its way too much for just 1 item.

  34. they said dhl is safe… im just a regular worker here in malaysia.. earning a bit of money for my family. my boy want something from me. as a mother i cant say no specially he is a top at the class, i send tab and cp. cost not that much like 270rm. and my friend send a same day she got tab a samsung tab. then the next day her package was in manila and mine is still in hongkong. her mom got a call from dhl manila that they need to pay for another 3,900 pesos… for what???? we already pay everything here. so im worried how much more for me…. god why is this happenin back in the philippines. they said dhl is safe and reliable. why its like this… philippines is one of the worst place in corruption. im not ashamed being a filipino but, pls. we are all working for our family.dont do this to us :’(if i only knew… i shouldnt send it to them :(

  35. wow…. I was planning to order something online since I got excited with my new card but I got worried about these tax fees and such and glad to find this blog… now I’m trying to find a way to avoid these problems…

    • I must have been extremely lucky so far to not have been charged too horrendous duties yet (50P pickup mostly) on quite a few small value items via ebay from China / Europe mostly cables / connectors / computer spares via regular postage and a few bigger ones via amazon.

      For Amazon US small parcel / high value products my-shoppingbox is door to door with no extra hidden charges, however they do charge by volume if the box is large rather than weight which was an oversight on my behalf when I ordered a $50 product which amazon shipped in an additional box more than twice the size of the product box! Watches etc should be perfectly safe though – just don’t pack in large boxes and have your shipper consolidate the order into the smallest dimension box as possible.

      Only tip I can give anyone is be both knowledgeable about your product and be knowledgeable about the taxes/tarrifs due prior to landing.

      if you do not declare something correctly expect the book to be thrown at you. if something is of-value e.g. 180GBP pair of sunglasses then I think its only reasonable to expect to be taxed 20-25% the landed cost (that included the shipping price), thats a normal thing in almost any country I have no sympathy for anyone who gets taxed for these kind of goods and complains – research beforehand!

      I’m about to order a box of Archery Arrows in the near future from China which have a 1% rate so will be interesting to see how that goes, It should end up being around 800pesos on a $70 package through china post which Im prepared for and happy enough to pay so long as they don’t unexpectedly up the price ridiculously.

  36. Thank you for posting this blog…I just ordered some items from China and a bit anxious..

    Try this website..it has a calculator and sort of outdated (2010 latest) link to an index of duty rates in the Philippines (you’ll have to sift through the classification though)…It should give you an idea if the evaluation has been unreasonable. Hopefully mine will be reasonable…

  37. HEEEELP!

    I am from England, I sent 10+kilos personal gift(s) to my family thru parcelmonkey here in the UK, then third party courier is DHL!!! :( i declared 600£ (value of the entire gift as it consists diff kind of shoes, in diff sizes and clothes as well and other personal goodies) DHL wanna get 15,422.78PHP tax!!! thats nearly 250£!!! are they mad at all? what shalllll i doO!

  38. Isnt it illegal for customs to open the packages? Fucking bastards opened my package containing jewelries worth 420 dollars and decided to upgrade the value to 1000 dollars, claiming they know better in appraising jewelries! As if they went to an institute and got a certificate for jewelry appraisal! I hate the philippine government!!!!

  39. I was planning to buy camo burlaps online to attach to my army fatigues and create my very own ghillie suit. After reading this blog and other customs experiences online, I’m having second thoughts from buying in eBay. I could buy locally but most people in here don’t even know what burlap means whenever I inquire about it. I could buy abaca fibers but I don’t want to go through the hassle of dyeing it and waiting for hours on end when I could just buy ready made burlaps cheaply for 20-40 bucks online.

    It’s really disheartening. I can’t even fulfill my hobbies because of some corrupt cunts at Customs wanted to have a bigger Christmas party.

  40. Just wanna share.
    Ordered an electronic adaptor from amazon in the US that was around 60 dollars, plus expedite shipping 20 dollars(got it 4 days) and import customs fee for another 20. The courier was DHL and it was fast and door to door! I dont have to pay additional tax because, i think, the import customs fee covered it. Not sure if they have improved their system, but i guess i was the first one here to have a good experience with DHL.

  41. I was thinking about buying the kids toys from amazon and having them shipped here in the Philippines, so we could get the kids more toys this year (since things like bratz and monster high are A LOT cheaper in the USA) …. So i punched into Google best way to ship toys to the Philippines and this blog came up.

    I quit reading comments on this article by the time I got to replies done in 2011. I’ve seen enough. I’m glad I found this blog before I bought $3,000 in toys for my 3 kids this year to be shipped over here. If I had of not found this blog, I’m sure by this time next year (2014) I would be sitting in one of those tiny ass Filipino prisons with how I would have reacted to whoever would be stupid enough to present a $6,000 fee to me.

    I don’t know if you still work at Customs Gimel Soriano, or have fucked over enough people by now that you have retired. But I promise you this, I will never ever ship anything to this country after reading your “official responses”. Have a Merry Christmas people and and I hope Santa comes and fucks Gimel in the ass with a tetanus infested rusty pipe.

  42. My experience with BoC and DHL. I bought hobby electronics items, things very few people would have any use for, from ebay. They came from China, and cost me $33. DHL computed duty and taxes at P2188, about $50, or 150% of the cost. I refused to pay and told DHL to destroy the package. I wrote a letter to BoC, no response. That all occured a month ago. Thursday September 12 is the 30th day (the time period that DHL would hold the parcel), and I received a call from DHL to tell me I can get my parcel if I pay P548.60, 1/4 the original. It took until now for DHL to return my package to Puerto Princesa. Something funny is going on here, but I don’t know what. Is it possible that DHL simply pockets the money? Reading over other posts here, the whole BoC policy seems wrong to me, a foreigner. Labor laws are so poorly enforced here, and so often there’s an agency between the employer and the employee to skim their cut, and BoC seems to be opposed to someone starting his/her own import business, ie, being self employed. It’s tragic.

  43. I know this post is old but since the comment section is very active, I kinda want to join in. :D
    Just recently, I opened a small online business using Instagram and I get my items from China. So far, I did not have problems with ridiculous taxes and failed door to door services (thank God) but now that I read this post and all the other comments that detailed a lot of bad experiences, I’m afraid it might happen to me. Tsk! But anyway, I think what contributed to my somehow “good experience” is that I only ordered 2-3 items at most (they are just clothing anyway, and are not high branded) and I used DPEX as my courier (I read from the others that they won’t charge you if you use a not so known courier company), but I understand that not all suppliers are open for DPEX shipping.

    This kind of system is really unfortunate though, because ecommerce is a budding market and I bet it will get bigger and bigger in the coming years. It’s a shame the Philippines gets so left behind. I am working for a foreigner that is into ecommerce and he is really making a lotta money from it (he sells his items in the USA but gets his products from no other than CHINA), and if this system persists, Filipinos would never have a chance to get a big piece of that ecommerce pie.

  44. Hi everyone, DHL is asking me to pay 1522.60 (944 customs charges + 280 duty handling fee + 33.60 informal entry declaration + 265 customs doc stamps) for textbooks sent by my school. i didn’t pay because i wasn’t informed about it (kasama na sa tuition fee ung cost ng books), and i don’t have the money readily available. it’s my 3rd shipment, the first two they didn’t charge me for similar materials. may charge na ba ngayon ang educational materials?

  45. Hi I am planning to do a venture on an online business now that sells shoes coming from US. Upon reading this blog now I am scared that the customs will definitely put a large tax on my future imported goods. Any suggestions? How will I evade those 200% taxes and other fees? Taxes is mandatory but it must be justifiable and computed right.

  46. I hear you on this. Customs have an inaccurate way of judging a package’s value. And they’d delay the package, to add more ‘warehousing’ fee, which they have a cut on as well. You have to pay more for the taxes than you do for the item AND shipping combined, and most of the time MORE. Really twisted.

  47. Me myself is not in favor of taxation and stuff but this regulate things.. Good old pimp daddy ,, you know what you are(GOV,BIR etch) …

    anyways after doing research on this I realized that there are people who are authorized to import bulk goods for sale here in our sweet old philippine islands.. IF a package is for business and for service or selling instead of personal use the good old customs will do their job and label it as such .. then this will get this EXCISE on the fee.. And as you see its quite high.. That will suck..

    By the way all your duty and vat is correctly computed based on Republic Act No. 1937 …
    No problem with the custom their…

    And also this Informal and formal entry stuff as I understand it is like you buying stuff for barter, sale and hire but of different quantities Its like that.. Damn this laws i gotta read.. I want to import a lot of stuff but Before I go to that thing I need to study the law and its system ..

    don’t judge the custom officials sometimes they are just doing their jobs and we people not understanding republic act 1937 and how the custom works nag and stuff.. Take note: WE PEOPLE

    Lets stop nagging and start learning for in the end every system has its flaws and when you find it you swim and bite that thing like jaws. If you know what i mean..

    DON’t Judge me I ain’t a College graduate… Im just a fool who has a tool called the internet and that thing could make a fool cool ..

    Nice post helped me a lot on understanding these stuff…

    Lets import Russian wives… :) lol:) just kiddin on this one..

    • Tnx. We also know abt this stuff. I shouldn’t have been taxxed at all given that a broker has already told me, the tax was zero on my items but i was taxxed 200% on the price anyway. We’re not nagging. This happened already and happened a lot of times to conmenters on this post. We can’t start a biznes this way and neither could anybody as long as this keeps happening. As 3 years passed on, commenters keep commenting which means, nothing has changed bro.

  48. Oh my gosh I’m expecting a package with a laptop and enclosed there is my boyfriend’s shirt. I honestly do not know what to do and I’m already doubting it will reach me safe and sound. It’s currently in the customs being “cleared”. I just hope being “cleared” doesn’t mean that I will receive a package “clear” of nothing or a going home “clear” of money or the package! Did the BoC change this 2013 yet??? Is it the same corrupt custom? One of our neighbors are even an employee there and I personally think he is corrupt as well. He gets a new car every month and they have mansions all over town. Luckily, he got fired.

    The laptop I will receive is just a gift! I don’t wanna pay a big sum of tax as my boyfriend clearly stated I do not have to pay anything anymore because HE ALREADY PAID FOR EVERYTHING I should pay for. The only mistake was he sent it from Sweden using their post and not DHL or any other courier, that means hello customs and Phil Post! And probably goodbye laptop…

    Laptops don’t have tariff fees, their rate of duties is FREE. How much could I possibly pay?

  49. Also for me philippine custom lost my money my goods worth 1usd they charge 580.00pesos thats why i decide to return the sender and my money was lost the poor is loser of philippine custom.

  50. nakaka tawa na mismong si pinoy sa kanyang SONA binatikos ang mga taga custom sa kawalangyaan nila. sana lang totoong sinosolusyonan nila ito. ano kaya masasabi nung taga custom na nagcocoment dito. hehe

  51. Hi I have some watches shipped from SG to MNL last July 11, 2013, until now its under MNL CUSTOMS, still waiting how much they will ask for the CUSTOM TAX!! Its two boxes, the first box arrives last July 13, 2013 with 545php Tax. Now i’m wondering how much will it cost for the 2nd box.

    • Hi Chriszy,

      i can feel you.
      Last July 15, 2013 i shipped a Parcel that cost 63sgd.
      I paid 32sgd shipment charge,
      but it came to my surprise that i need to pay more than that
      when the packaged reached in MNL customs.

      Here is the calculation for the amount that i need to pay further:
      docs fee php 780.00
      duties and taxes 1,718.00
      storage 89.29
      ————————————————————————————–
      Total php 2587.29 (ex VAT) USD 59.96 = 76.02 SGD ( Duties / Taxes after conversion )

      this is insane!

      i tried to negotiate with the freight forwarder whether they can just dispose the items,
      since i am not interested to pay the said Duties, which is higher than the amount of the item,
      but unfortunately i still need to pay the 76.02 SGD.

      WTF!

    • A box of watches? You should expect to be paying high customs duties for that since thats already considered as commercial quantity

  52. I never had any problems with the amount of tax I paid for all my shipments via sea cargo (USPS, Royal Mail) from UK and U.S.A. I usually paid 40 to 200 bucks only for parcels. For the 3 balikbayan boxes, none. But with shipments via air, the taxes were always fucking hefty. Fedex is so incompetent and the quality of their service is third-rate. I’m still waiting for them to tell me why they still haven’t delivered the 2.3 ct diamond gold ring I ordered from New York. I’ve made 3 calls to them today and they keep telling me to just wait for an update from them cause they don’t know why the clearance can’t be released and that they don’t know what the problem is. I’m so furious that the motherfuckers can’t do their jobs. I hope they send it real soon and tax me appropriately or I might just hire someone to burn their warehouse and fuck em all in the ass.

    • I’m planning to buy also a .08 mm thick gold ring with diamond 0.036 carat diamond from Jerusalem and its basically super tiny ring and it will cost me 200USD for all with shipping (people who read this please don’t get me wrong I just want to buy myself a gift on my birthday and i’ve been dreaming for this ring since 3 years ago and its hard to find it here in ph. and since i got my first paycheck wala pa akong binibili na something really i can keep forever so I decided to push my purchase until Philippine Customs issue shows up). after reading this blog I might not continue purchasing it. but Mrs. T I just would like to know if you received the item and how much it cost you to get it from customs? thanks! I hope you got yours smoothly. I heard a lot of horror stories when it comes to jewelries in customs its either fake or real they would charge you MUCH so for some who is PLANNING to buy Jewelries I maybe recommend NOT. let’s hope for the best in this Country will be leaving Phil. by next year.

      • I received my ring 30 days after it arrived in Paranaque. They charged me 23,800 pesos. I have learned my lesson, next time you plan on importing jewelry, have it sent through EMS and tell the shipper to declare a lower value.

      • For jewelries,semi precious or precious gems, whether real or fake, ad valorem tax is 150%. Better to send it through the post office, you only need to pay 50 pesos to receive the parcel.

  53. I got my delivery today.
    Value of $10 US, shipped through FEDEX.
    Fees, taxes and all the other bullshit… 1270Php. That is $30. 300 percent of the value of the item.
    We are expected to smile, and pay, and respect them at the end of the day? I think not.
    My purchase was mirrors for my bike. I got them overseas not because they are cheap, but because I don’t like the shit quality ones that are sold in Philippines.
    It is wrong and corrupt… and if I ever happen to meet any of the guys that are doing this shit, I am likely to do a burnout on his head.
    Gimmel, Soriano… it’s assholes like you that are the problem. you guys have the power (apparently) and ability (so you create the impression) to do something about this situation… but I fear that you also are lining your own pockets with ill gotten funds. Anywhere else in the world, you take the paperwork, have someone check it over, and it is changed accordingly.Not here. You have your bullshit ways of justifying it… problem being that you believe your own bullshit. It’s a shame you don’t realise that everyone around you knows that you are full of it.
    Shame… such a beautiful wonderful country… and it is so spoiled with this backwards garbage.

    • By the way customs compute the shipping fee + insurance (2 percent) to get the duty fee.based on what percentage it gets based on R.A 1937 ..

      if your item and shipping fee is less 2k your good, free of duty but with VAT… but if you exceed it not by the price of the item but of the price of shipping + Item and Insurance you got to pay that shitty Duty stuff..

      its not corrupt man its just the rules of their game… IF this taxation is not done properly then Philippines will throw away money to other countries in a snap.

  54. last year i bought an item on ebay, item is worth USD60 (a compression shirt i use for workout) item was sent it via USPS Priority Mail International and labelled it as a gift/test sample (i forgot na). i was only asked to pay PHP50 at a post ofc near my place.

    im planning to start an online business din, kaya lang i dont want to go through a broke., parang dagdag gastos lang. 3 years na tong blog na ito, upto know ba ganito pa din ba sa customs?

  55. hello, my cousin send me an old LV purse is it subjected for tax? because i received the registry notice and there is a computation on it. 1,729 +55 total of 1,834 pesos…

    thanks

  56. in my honest opinion, if you declined receiving an item from Philpost and wanted it to be returned to the seller but they will also charge you with the service, they should just burn it in front of you, I meant the item you’ve purchased. why? hindi mo na rin naman nakuha yun item mo at sisingilin ka rin nila pag nagdecide ka na ibalik, might as well wala ng makinabang nun item na yon. baka kasi dahil sa “forfeiture” i-tetakehome nila yun gamit mo.

    oh no! im so scared now. i bought an item from amazon and it costs 1600php :((

  57. Hello Zero MD! Talagang pinagtiyagaan kong basahin ang thread na ito. And whoa! Grabe! I am not an importer or anything like that. I am just a recipient of a small package containing some children’s clothes and balloons, weighing about 3 lbs., with a declared value of USD60.00 sent through FEDEX from the USA. The said items are gifts of my in-laws to my children and nieces as one of them is celebrating her 1st birthday this weekend. As per FEDEX Debit Memo, they’re charging us more than PHP3K, We have already called FEDEX several times, bottom line is, we have no choice but pay the amount if we want to get the items. The last time we talked to them (Customer Service) was just about an hour ago who informed us that she has already sent a report that we are disputing the charges but we have to pay the amount as charged. She said once the dispute is settled we will be reimbursed for whatever will be the disputed amount. This is all disheartening for us especially for my in-laws who just wanted to give the children some nice clothes.

    I have actually sought the help of a friend working at Customs and gave him the details of the charges. He told me that more than 50% of the charges are from FEDEX and not from Customs and that the computed duties and taxes on our package were reasonable. He also advised me to accept the package when they deliver it again to avoid the hassle of going to FEDEX main office in Paranaque. FEDEX is charging us warehouse and storage fee of 1,200+ among others. When we asked for clarification on this, the last CSR we talked to explained that this is usually charged if the recipient refuses to receive the package when first delivered. We then told her that this does not apply to us at all because when the delivery guy gave us the debit memo, it was already included in the computation. It was then when she decided to send a report to billing and that we are to follow it up through email . She said it usually take 5 to 10 working days to settle a dispute.

    Hay naku…

  58. Dapat aksyunan yan sobrang mangurakot ng mga customs hindi na makatarungan! Mga gahaman sa pera! Puro kurakot tlaga dito sa pilipinas kahit san ka pumunta! Nakakainis na!

  59. Hi to all, this blog is so interesting. I went yesterday to pick up my package in philippines postal nia road which i ordered in U.K. just 1pcs of Prada sunglass that cost 180£ including the delivery pee. I was so angry when they told me that i need to pay 2,542 pesos for
    Dutiable value 558
    Evat 1469
    IPF 250
    CDS 250
    BIR 15
    sobrang laki nila maningil. tumatawag ako maya maya sa customs hotline 917 3201 wala naman sumasagot. wala naman ganito sa ibang bansa eh. kaya nga tayo bumibili sa online para maka mura pero yun pala mas mapapamahal ka pa dahil sa mga CUSTOMS na BUHAYA at Malakas mangutong… paano naman yun ibang tao na wala naman pera at pinadalhan lang ng gamit ng kapamilya nila sa ibang bansa. Bago pa nila makuha kailangan mag bayad ng kung ano ano, parang binili na rin nila sa taas ng sinisingil nila… wala tlaga kwenta philippines goverment!!!

  60. Got the same problem a while ago. Bought $50 amount in China and DHL said that customs have to raise it to 6000PHP. I even gave them my proof of payment that I only pay $50!! It is my fifth time to import items via DHL. But this is the first time I experienced this. I asked them how come in my other shipments I did not experienced this. The answer of DHL was “Mam, that depends to who is the EXAMINER” I asked for the name of the examiner. Her name was WINNIE ASIARTO, a customs examiner. I wanted to talk to this lady on the phone, but I bet she will give me a shit answer. I am also working in a big company who do imports. Customs people are going in our office just to “visit” us. Because the envelope with greens are not allowed in their office. WHAT A SHAME.

    I hope we could all do something about this.

  61. Hi zero MD, Gimel Soriano and all others. I was trolling the net for some info on customs tariffs and procedures and i came upon this blog. I only read about a half of it and that was enough for me to decide THAT I WILL NOT BE RETIRING IN THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY OF PHILIPPINES. I mean just imagine my shipped medicine held up by on of those corrupt people that are ripping off the citizenry from the “lofty’ (not!) perches of their government jobs – it could cost me my life! Getting my medicine delivered to me is NOT, NEVER WAS AND NEVER WILL BE A PRIVILEGE, MR GIMEL -ITS MY RIGHT, OK? I paid for it, i need it to survive , i don’t care how you feel about it, and your “government”. So, thank you for this info and the country just lost hundreds of thousands of dollars i would have spent there during my retirement. TAX THAT, MR SORIANO. …buncha bugok mofos…(not you Zero MD, or the other bloggers, just the thieving scum with rubber stamps)

  62. Hi Gud Day…im planning to buy a wheelset for my bike that costs around $600 and will be sent using Express Int’l Postage..my question is will the customs will be charging taxes for this one?..how much would it be?..thanks much sir…

  63. HI, Iam about to buy a watch from a US site that will amount to 40k in pesos and the total cost reflected, shipping, taxes and duties included. My question is… Does that mean, all is settled here in Manila once my packages gets here? or will customs do its magic and add cost again even twice? ( my site told me all-in, they actually told me they have a merchants’ permit from our customs that is why can compute and remit taxes and duties here, in short all cost they gave me was Net of) Thanks much sir!!!

  64. Hi, I’m planning on buying an action figure on Plamoya (an online store for such items based on Japan) but after reading this thread, I’m a bit hesitant with my plan. The price of the item is around 4,960 yen (which is roughly around $55). Do you think I will be given 100% tax for this one item? Btw, I’ll be using EMS (as it is one of the two available shipping method). thanks in advance.

  65. Sad to say, this things still happen (for me only with DHL! haha.) I ordered fake jewelries in China with a declared value of $33.39 with an invoice. So I was expecting the delivery on Jan 3, 2012. The package did came, but with a twist. Imagine DHL asking for Php 10,770.60 for duties and taxes????? for a $34 declared value of items they want me to pay $250 for tax? So I refused the package and called their customer service inquiring about how they came up with such a big amount of tax. It turns out customs upgraded the value to $477 instead of $34, that’s why they were asking for such a big tax. They asked for a receipt for the items I bought which of course included the shipping cost (the receipt’s value was 56.6 for the cost of items plus shipping fee). So days went by and I received a call from DHL telling me that the customs have already recomputed the duties and taxes. I asked for a copy of the tax and it turns out they used 56.6USD as the cost of the items and added another freight cost to the computation. A 60% penalty was added to the payment because of undervaluation. And because of this, now I know how DHL computes the duties and taxes (sorry if I am using DHL as the one computing the taxes, you see they are the ones handling everything so I don’t know if they are doing abra kadabra hehe). I have had shipments from DPEX before, ranging from $15-37 worth of items and they never charged me a cent! But with DHL everything has its price. This is what I have experienced. Until now the complaint is still ongoing, so hopefully this will be resolved. Or else I will really call an attorney to help me out through this. Wish me luck po hehe :)

  66. Right now, Dec 08, 2012 meron po akong item na Clearance delay sa DHL.

    Further Detail:
    A clearance other than standard Customs entry is required for this shipment.

    Next Step:
    Further processing will occur as instructed by the regulatory authority. A DHL representative will attempt to contact the importer or shipper if further information is required.

    The item that i ordered are just 5pcs E cigarette. Personal use lang para maiwasan sa family ung smoking, kc it affects health. In total $24 ung items. Pupunta ba ako ng DHL neto to get my items or i should just wait for them at my doorstep. As of this writing, Ni ho Ni ha, wala. Tinawagan ko ung DHL express shipping, Chinecheck daw ng custom ung item, either Monday or Tuesday ung result ng details.

    • You have to wait. Keep calling them so the clearance delay doesn’t cost much. They charge per day in storage fee too even if it’s not your fault that customs check the package. Every item is treated as if it has commercial value for resale. After customs charge the tax, it will eventually be cheaper to just buy them at the local mall.

      • call the DHL ask the status of the items. If it will take long in DHL you have to pay the storage charges per day. much better, give what documents needed by customs to release your shipment.

  67. PH CUSTOM IS ONE BIG OVERCHARGE! they even put taxes shipping from other Asia countries to Philippines, in UK you only have to pay the shipping fee from the shop you bought the item and other than that you’ll pay nothing. When u ordered stuff around Europe you wont experience paying customs, taxes / duty etc. ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES.

  68. UGH! this year we shipped stuff from Cyprus its in a 20 ft. container including 77 boxes. its just 2nd hand personal goods. And when it arrived to customs. They asked us to pay unbelievably 112 thousand + . So dodgy!

    Customs clearance PHP 26,000.00
    Delivery fee (from MNL to Cavite) PHP 15,000.00
    + 12% vat PHP 4,920.00

    Terminal Handling PHP 9,155.40
    Duty & Tax PHP 43,972.50
    Bank charge PHP 250.00
    100 % Examination PHP 8,307.40

    Charges up to October 22**
    Arrastre, wharfage, storage PHP 4,771.20

    Total PHP 112,376.50

    SPEECHLESS.

  69. hi i’m nerrisa solomon i got a text message from miss aileen p. zaballa of clearance unit of the BOC saying my package arrive at the airport but i had to pay for 9,000 pesos so i send them but suddenly another text came saying that my package had money inside so i had to pay another 25,000 for money laundering clearance then so on another 18,000 then another 13,500 then another 28,000 and then another 13,500 i already paid over 100,000 pesos plus to them but still nothing came to me until now i already owed a lot of money to many people here in our place pls help me get my things…..i’m from dumaguete city

    • Did you use any courier for the delivery? If you’re expecting the package via a courier, I think you should contact the courier customer service. If via postal mail, you should contact your postal office for follow-up. Nowadays, scammers are everywhere especially in SMS world. Be careful who you transact with. Every time you transact with anybody in the government, you should ask for an official receipt. If your transactions are via SMS then this would be very suspicious. And as much as possible you should also contact the sender of your package. Hope I shed some light. If not, then it is better if you contacted someone with expertise :)

  70. A QUESTION: How do the Islamic Militants in the Southern Philippines get their weapons? I truly don’t believe their riffles fell from the sky. Call me cynical or old (I’m actually both of them), but I believe they went right through customs. Anyone else have any other ideas? Soooo Why don’t the Philippine Government send these Customs Agents to get these weapons away from these thugs which have killed young innocent Filipino kids in their army. “Liberal” countries have executed traitors like these “agents” who did things for a couple thousand Pesos. Allowing a foreign army to build up forces in a persons own country would definitely be a just reason for a capital punishment. NOW if Filipinos required their BoC to pay for their mistakes in blood by making them confiscate these weapons, the surviving agents “might” learn to care less about trying to find 500 Pesos in someone’s birthday card or gouging as much money as they can from a poor Filipino kid getting a small 5,000 Peso netbook that he/she needs for school, and more about patriotism and duty and honor.
    Of course, that is a big “might”.

    • As far as I know sir, Philippines is very capable of producing their own firearms. This was the one being featured on the news this days that there are lots of factories or the like producing loose firearms. It is likely that the militants in the southern part of the Philippines take or “buy” their firearms via these illegal producers or it could also be because of smuggling. But so far, I have never heard of news of smuggled firearms.

  71. Good Day! Dr. Zero MD, maybe (if possible) we could set/organize seminars for concerns of the public related to trade particularly importation thru parcel shipments. I voluntarily be your speaker.

    Thanks.

  72. Hey guys, Recommend you use Balikbayan boxes to ship from China, USA or Europe. You can always find a BB office everywhere these days. It’s the only way to ship stuff whiteout being questioned by the customs =)
    I am importer and exporter myself I know how much trouble the customs can give…

  73. Just received my package in the mail today. Package was valued at around P4,500, and the BOC slapped a P2,715.00 “Inbound duties and taxes” charge unto it (more than half my package’s value!). Adding the cost of shipment of around P2,400, am shelling out close to P10,000 for a package which costs less than half of that amount. The Rate of Duty (RoD) is simply too high for most commonly-shipped goods (such as garments), and the ambiguity by which the BoC rates their “miscellaneous” charges points to how decrepit and corrupt this Bureau is. How I wish we could have an instrument or a medium by which we can let the public know of these practices.

  74. hello brother i am from bangladesh..in our country sell websites i found a add..the add said 1 iphone 4s price 350$ .they sent the phone via fedex ..so i contract him and sent the money but they dont sent the phone and they said if they have 10 iphone order then sent them all..and in our country tax 200% ..i know recently the customes stop the delver and they want tax what can i do now …man plz reply me ..

    • Don’t buy, it’s probably a scam. 350 for an iphone? Customs will eat you because it’s an electronics deal. Apple only licenses select distributors in the country and the minimum purchase is $100,000.

  75. Hey guys!

    I have read all your comments here and I honestly got really scared that those horrible experiences might happen to me.

    My American fiance sent me a package via USPS Priority Mail. Actually that package was the 2nd box that he had sent me last August. The 1st one arrived in no less than 3 weeks and I picked it up in our local Post Office here in Bulacan. I expected the 2nd box to arrive last week (because I already had estimated the time difference between the 1st and 2nd package). But when I tried to go to the local post office last Tuesday I was told that the 2nd package was in Customs office for clearance. I was really surprised. So I decided to call the EMS hotline. She asked me for my tracking number and some info, and then after a few minutes she confirmed to me that my package is in the Customs office. I asked her if I can just pick up the package. She said no. She told me that my package will be forwarded to the Local Post office after clearance but not sure when.

    Why am I not allowed to pick up my package? Bakit po kaya ganun? Please help.. Thanks

    • Its been a year since my last visit here and i must say that i am a deeply saddened na wala pa rin nagbabago sa customs.Thanks Zero Md for helping us about this but i really want to know if theres anything we can do to stop this corrupt customs.I dont mind paying taxes but this is really getting on my nerves and its ridiculous!
      At wala tlgang silang exact bases ng computation,minsan my items worth $100 tax is 8k peso,$50 -3600,$500-10k..and so on..
      The worst thing is sa dpex wala na rin halos nakakalusot,lahat tax.I am really enjoying my online shop business but unfortunately if this corrupt customs will keep going emptying our pocket i dont have a choice but to close it down :(
      So i hope na magawan natin to ng paraan,.what about a petition or we upload something in youtube?or make a page in facebook?In that case bka makuha natin atensyon ng gobyerno.
      For evidence,ive been keeping ALL release reciept na bigay ng ibat ibang courier na may computation ng mga corrupt officers pero di tlga nila nilalagay ang name nila.
      Zero Md,hope u make a page in facebook.We will follow you :) just my suggestion.
      God Bless Everyone!

  76. Thank God for this blog. I just canceled an Amazon order for a titanium bangle worth $35.00. I’m not sure I would survive any encounter with post office/customs officials. I don’t know how to haggle nicely and I just might end up with a heart attack. :-P

  77. Hey mates,

    Am from Dumaguete City, I purchased a tablet 6 days ago from an American website but their manufacturer is from China so they shipped the item that only cost $169 via DHL from China. I kept tracking the item and I was just wondering as the status still “Clearance Delay” since yesterday 8am.. What should I do now? Anyone can help me on this? If incase, anyone here knows a globelines number of Bureau of customs where my item possibly stored?

    Thanks

    • Hi Joel,
      About your problem “Clearance Delay” you have to check with your supplier the Airway Bill Number or Tracking Number of your cargo and check with DHL the real status of your shipment, they are the one’s responsible for releasing your cargo. If you need anymore assistance you may contact us at 9945911-12.

  78. Hi guys!!!

    I have the same dilemma. I bought fake jewelries at ebay worth $23.63 (= PhP 986.74) ONLY. Note that I am a newbie on buying items from other countries. I just want to try it since I am planning to sell online. According to the seller, they sent the package via regular mail. After a month, I received a notice from Paranaque Post Office saying that I need to claim the package within 30days and kindly bring the invoice/paypal receipt and prepare Php40.00 as presentation custom fee.

    So all the while, I thought I only need to pay PhP40.00 and when I went to the Paranaque post office last August 13, 2012 my pocket money is PhP200.00 only. I asked the front guy for my parcel and he opened it. After that, he asked for the paypal receipt. Then, he gave it to the old lady and the latter started to write something. Once done, they told me to pay a whopping PhP806.00, which is 82% of the amount I purchased! I was depressed! I don’t have any money that time and Oh my, i didn’t expect to be charged that big at all! So I told them that I cannot get the package and will go back some other day to pick it up since I don’t have the money. Then the guy told me that I can claim the package by paying Php 500.00 if I haggle to the old lady and he also said that if the package is worth $20 or less, I don’t have to pay any customs duties & taxes. I thanked the guy for the tip and left miserable… Right now I am still searching the web if they are charging me the right amount before going back to the post office.

    PLEASE HELP….

    (1.) Is it true if my items are worth $ 20 or less, I will not pay any customs duties & taxes? Since, I still have 4 more parcels waiting to arrive (worth $ 12.77-cellphone case, $13.20-ipad case, $9.99-ipad case & $ 35-camera). Right now, my heart is aching for the corresponding custom duties & taxes of my items.

    (2.) Please confirm if they have the right to charge me and if yes what should be the cost? See below computation based on their ‘Tentative Computation Sheet’ they provided me.

    CUSTOMS DUTY (R.A. 9135 Sec.1 as Amended)

    Declared/AssessedmValue USD 23.63
    +
    Freight Cost, Insurance & Other Charges USD – 0.00
    +
    Duitable Value (Landed Cost) USD – 0.00
    X
    Current Exchange Rate PhP – 41.76
    =
    Duitable Value PhP – 986.74
    X
    Rate of Duty (%) 0.10
    =
    Customs Duty PhP – 98.67

    EXPANDED VALUE ADDED TAX (R.A. 9337 Sec. 5 as Ammended)

    Dutiable Value PhP – 986.74
    +
    Customs Duty (see above) PhP – 98.67
    +
    Fixed Charges: (TCCP Sec 3301)
    Customs Documentary Stamp 250.00
    Import Processing Fee 250.00
    BIR Stamps 15.00
    =
    EVAT Base 1,600.42
    X
    EVAT Rate (%) 0.12
    =
    Expanded Value Added Tax Payable PhP -192.05

    SUMMARY OF CUSTOMS DUTIES, TAXES AND OTHER CHARGES

    CUSTOMS DUTY PhP 98.67
    EXPANDED VALUE ADDED TAX PhP 192.05
    Customs Documentary Stamp PhP 250.00
    Import Processing Fee PhP 250.00
    BIR Stamps PhP 15.00

    GRAND TOTAL PHP 805.72

    I am very desperate right now. I need answers… huhu!!!

  79. Hi! I just read all the posts in this blog.. Id like to ask if meron ba dito na nkaexperience same scenarios but with China Post Air Mail..? I just wondered, kasi I ordered 10 pieces of phone accessories online from a Chinese supplier site, which happened to be a trusted one, since I do have an online shop.. I just tracked my package today and the result came up, saying the item is in Manila dated August 15, which is yesterday.. This must mean the package is already with the Customs.. I am here in Bacolod and that package was for door-to-door delivery. If in case they will charge me for customs taxes, sa local post office po ba dito sa Bacolod magbabayad and icocollect..? The package was only worth $29.76.. How much do you think they will charge me for my package..? And how about EMS po, any experiences with this courier..?

  80. Hey guys,

    I have a horrifying story I’d like to share that I heard from a close friend. Of course I have no proof I can share other than the spoken word and very vague details, although I wouldn’t share it anyway due to the dangerous political system in the Philippines that can get one killed if on the “wrong side”. Anyway, the friend was in the interesting position of being around some people one time who turned out to be high ranking customs officials. They have body guards, buy the finest liqueur, and paid for multiple hookers to CHOOSE from (who they share with their body guards). From the sounds of it this was your average night out for these people. Despite the alcohol and prostitutes, the fact these people have body guards is enough to not whisper, not tell, but SCREAM corruption. This is where your “taxes” and money from sold off confiscated shipments are going to.

  81. Helu Zero MD..i was searching whole day na po tungkol dito sa import tax,,thankful naku napunta ako dito sa blog nyu,,para nalilinawan ako sa ibang concerns ko,,,Like u din po i want to sell sana dresses,bag and accessories from china,,I will be Using DPEX po,,
    first question ko po,if DPEX po gamit ko,e dedeliver po ba yan door to door,or i have to pick it up sa post office,,(by the way im from cebu).
    Second magkano kaya mababayaran ko sa post office,sample lang 50USD lng kasama na sa shipping fee,,,

    sana po may maktulong sa akin,,,tnx

    • hi mye,

      with regards to using DPEX considered din sya as a courier company. it would depend on your shipper if they will book your cargo as door to door or not. i suggest you contact a certified cargo freight forwarder/customs broker, you may contact us at 9945911-12 / 4168380.

  82. what are the possible device that we can use to monitor the custom, especially now they are corrupt those taxes that must be go in the BIR.? what are the possible solution on it…

  83. thanks that this thread has been posted…me too has also experienced this kind of b***s***..recently i have bought a cap on ebay worth $65 that’s about 2700 php and it stated that it was free shipping..it will be shipped from korea by fedex..i’m happy that the shipping is going well..until when i called fedex about the delivery because it’s delayed for 4days..and the person that i talked to stated that upon delivery i should pay 2300 php for the tax duties..JESUS CHRIST! how the hell did they come up with that computation it’s like i will pay for the price of two items..i’m completely being ripped..please someone enlighten me about this shit that i’ve gotten myself into..

  84. I WILL NEVER USE DHL AGAIN!

    I ordered a $30 item from China, and DHL was charging me 1,696 for duties. Mas mahal pa kaysa sa nabili ko.

    Sa post office pag below $50, I only pay the minimum 40 pesos.

    I was trying to contest pero mahabang process pa, eh kailangan ko na agad items.

    Here is the breakdown:
    customs charges 1,118
    duty handling fee 280
    informal entry declaration 33.60
    customs documentary stamps 265

    • ang nagpapamahal po niyan is ung duty handling fee, na sakanila ko lang nakita haha. even if the package is less than $40.

  85. reading your post.. naalala ko tuloy ang ipod shuffle that i won in a contest via facebook.. it came from malaysia.. pero di ko man lang nahawakan kc siningil ako ng fedex ng 2,700++ as tax daw declared by customs… item’s value is at 4.5k++ kaloka! napanalunan ko nga eh tapos babayaran ko.. haissst!! sana makarma kung sino man ang may hawak ng ipod shuffle ko na pinaghirapan namin mapanalunan!!

  86. kung pra sainyo mgnda and DPEX oo mganda nga dpex dami ko nbbasang positive pero pano nmn ang customs n ichacharge pagkatapos mareceive ang package? :(

  87. I’ve read Gimmel’s POST and NOW I am MORE PISSED OFF!!!!!!!!!!

    OKAY!!! I am so pissed off by this comment here. (excuse me for the word) Sorry Mr. Soriano, but as complicated and bizarre your explanations are to us common Filipinos, I just want to point out that we do asked for receipt! But did they gave us any? NADA! I received a gift worth NOTHING (just a hand-made card and some personalized t-shirts) and i had to pay 2000 pesos for it..

    Now if that is not enough. My mom ventured on an online shop and we purchased some cheap products from China. What we bought for 30 dollars costs us 50 dollars to retrieved! Imagined how much is that since we ordered like 500 dollars worth of products!

    You said it is a privilege to be able to import and not a RIGHT? As far as I know it is our RIGHT to get what is RIGHTFULLY OURS! We paid for those items with our hard-earned money for damn sake, and did the GOVERNMENT think it is our RIGHT to received them? NO. They only thought about OUR OBLIGATION to PAY THE BLOODY TAXES!

    I do not mind paying the taxes as it is my responsibility, I only want to pay what is RATIONAL AND JUSTIFIABLE.. and it is so NOT!

    So excuse me for HATING YOU and PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I simply hate people who claims to know a lot when you HAVEN’T even tried BEING the VICTIM yet!

    So for Conclusion? Yeah Philippine Government SUCKS!

  88. Hey there!!

    I am so totally pissed off right now, so excuse me for blabbing!!!

    My boyfriend from UK sent me a gift.It was totally nothing. It was just a card (his hand-made one) and a t-shirt he printed himself. There’s nothing really special about it except the fact that everything in that box had been hand-made and he put so much effort into it. Now this freaking post office sent me a notice (almost a month after my boyfriend sent me the gift by the way) and asked me to retrieve it. I was so relieved it finally arrived, then I was so shocked when i get there and they asked 2000 pesos just so I can get the gift which is MINE and totally MINE!

    I don’t get it! Why do I have to pay for something that is MINE! Are they freaking insane??? I totally would have love to open the box right there and then to show them what the box contained but the stupid guy in the post office didn’t even allow me to see the box ’til I pay the bloody custom tax! Damn!

    I don’t mind paying taxes mind you. I totally get that for our sorry-excuse-for-a-government thing to work they need PEOPLE’S hard earned money to get by. I don’t really mind paying… I just want to pay what is right! And I don’t think THIS is right!

    Now, this is what i did. I walked out of the office, paying nothing, leaving my boyfriend’s full-effort gift into the muddy dirty hands of Philippines post mail service and went home.

    I looked for legalities and stuff in the net and found out that I freaking can’t do anything about this because what the post mail guy did was all LEGAL! Can you believe that! Seriously, and they wonder why we’re on the top list of MOST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT? No wonder snail mails are dying!

    Now, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to get back there and PAY the custom tax (and maybe curse the post mail people while I’m at it) and retrieve my boyfriend’s gift. But only because it is so special to me I couldn’t allow it to rot in the post mail office. I would go there and get it and promise myself to become the next President of the Philippines and eliminate the bloody custom tax for GIFTS! Well, maybe the last part was just me steaming off.. haha

    Thank you for your blog Zero MD! You totally rocks!

  89. Heya dear blogger! I’ve just had this stupid thing happened to me too! Just right this moment. But with a slight difference of the story. What actually happened to me was, my boyfriend sent me a GIFT from New Zealand. I actually didn’t know what day as it will arrive because it was a SURPRISE thing from him for my birthday. But then after that, there’s this sudden staff of DHL who called me, telling me that the customs has declared that I should pay 4,400php for the said “tax”. I still haven’t gotten the item since they asked me to get first a notarized affidavit of ownership and copy of working permit and passport of the sender to proceed with the next step, with them also stating that the submission of this papers would lessen the 4,400php PAYMENT. I’m hella confused, what does this papers had to deal with the lessened payment if ever? Shall that be called as DISCOUNT (The fuck, sale?). Oh Fuck this country. Nothing really happens to this country because of this stupid government system and workers corrupting the money of its OWN FILIPINO PEOPLE. So they’re saying Filipino pride? oh come on it sucks! How can it be “It’s more FUN in the Philippines” When it’s own people make them not wanting to live here because of the fucked up system!

    As I am just a receiver of a gift then I had to pay this stupid fee. Regalo nanga lang babayaran ko pa :(

    Have you guys had any suggestions on what should I do before they tax = corrupt me another thing? Do you guys know where I should be complaining? Please help!

    • i know my answer to your querry is knida crazy.Try reporting it to t3 sagot kita by tulfo brothers… they help people with their problems regarding any irregularities and injustifications.

  90. Umm… i want to ask something…. I plan to order something from play-asia (a certain game that will never have the chance to be sold in this country) i plan on using FedEx as my courier and Western union as my mode of payment… my problem now is if i would be taxed the same way as some did like at 100-200 or maybe even 400%…… i cant afford that much for taxes…. and im just a Freshman College Student….. btw the item costs around $85

    • i think you will need to provide proof that the item you’ve purchase is only $85.
      i have read many blogs regarding the taxing. some said that if you purchase blow $50, there will be posibility of no tax. idk if its true.

      just ask clarifications to customs agents for you to make sure that their computation is right. i advice to to pbring calculator, latest usd-peso rates. so that you can compare and battle with those stupid persons… :)

  91. Punyetang mga Goverment employee yan lalo na sa customs. Palakasan pag may kakilala sa loob kahit isang oras kaya ilabas ang mga items. Sa ibang bansa ang bilis dito ang bagal kahit saan mabagal mapa BIR etc…. hate to say this but iam not proud to be a filipino because of our goverment. nakakahiya

  92. hi!

    Just like to ask this here maybe someone can answer my inquiry.

    Here it goes: Got mine by TNT courier express coming from Malaysia and was shocked by the payable tax and duties.

    It was indicated – Upgraded!
    TNT asked me the proof of purchase online and the receipt I paid at the bank to justify my claim that I should not supposed to be upgraded.

    My question is does the customs really has to check this (call and inquire the bank)?
    I provided already the pro forma invoice provided by my seller.

    Thank you very mucH!

    • Check part 2 of this post. It didn’t matter what proof you give them. Custom’s wont downgrade your tax. They want printed copies faxxed to them and dont rely on pro forma emails from suppliers. Either get a broker or find another way around door to door. Try this post too.

      • bossing sa akin na downgrade after providing them may payment transaction. yung lang binawi nila sa storage fee + 2 half day of work ko. lumaki pa lalo. ingat lang sa mis declaration of value.

      • hi zero,

        i read your blog and was interested in it.If you are experiencing this type of difficulties with the customs I suggest that you consult a certified logistics company. I work in a logistics company and we handle this type of problems, most of our clients experienced this specially when they use courier companies. what you need is a customs broker that will help you with the computation of the duties and taxes of your imported goods, they will also help you classify your goods according to their tariff rates. if you need anymore assistance you may message me.

    • Hello! Im willing to give free professional advice.
      You could call our office with this tel #: (02) 738-49-85.
      Im a Licensed Customs Broker, Professor @ PMI Colleges for Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration, teaching Major subject in Tariff and Customs Laws and International Trade.
      Thanks

      • Hey there Mr. Altiche,
        It’s nice to know we have professional here (I mean about custom). I’m Jhera Sabalza and I totally don’t get custom laws. Is it legal for the post office to charge me 2000 pesos tax for a GIFT with nothing valuables on it (No devices or anything. Just a card and a t-shirt) If it is LEGAL, I don;t think it is RIGHT. Do you?

  93. why is custom charging me 15% tax, instead of 5% lang para sa electronic item. <<> Of a kind used in cinematography, television or broadcasting >> 5%

    why must i pay 700 pesos para sa brokerage fee? nasa BOC ba o nasa DHL.

    kung nasa BOC ang item, whats the use of paying DHL?

    STORAGE FEE: 3 days after arrival of the shipment, excluding holidays, with minimum of P448.52 or rate of P1.76 per kilo per day, whichever is higher.

    kung nasa DHL naman, para saan ang 700?

    which is which ba talaga.

    i’m not againts tax, sana lang maayos at explain sa akin ng mabuti. wala na problema sa other charges. alising lang siguro 700 + make it 5% pwede na. what they are charging me is too much for personal use. sana hinintay ko na lang ebay free shipping 40 pesos lang.

    thanks in advance.

    i’m planning to visit custom para maintindihan kong mabuti ang pasikot sikot.

    • Good luck. Read more from the comments above, esp Gimmel’s. Complaints are filed after paying. Storage fees are calculated per day. It was one of my complaints too. Why wait a few days to contact me instead of immediately so it doesn’t balloon up. This kind of trickery is killing door to door services. Use balikbayan boxes or other cargo companies with brokers esp electronics. The taxes go up to 100% if undeclared.

      • bad trip na coordinator ng DHL yan. pinapunta ako ng tuesday afternoon para matanong ko peronsal sa custom concerns ko. umalis na daw custom. thursday bumalik ulit ako 1PM. #$%^&@##%, inabot na ako ng 5PM di ko din pala makakausap custom. sana hindi na lang ako pinapunta.

        from 1900+ (wednesday) nakita ko sa papers nya naging 3405 na babayaran ko. sabi ano yan? di nyo masagot concerns ko, tapos ganyan na agad price? sir kasi, di nyo agad binayaran. sabi ko eh bakit ko babayaran yan kung di nyo sinasagot tanong ko. sige sir, lakarin ko sa custom. pag balik sir 2150 na lang, ano release na natin item? utang na loob ko pa yung binaba nila yung adjusted value na $60 to $30 after providing them payment details and website.

        tariff code 8928.7190 15% ito na daw ang bago. para sa media player luma na daw 8521.90.91 (Of a kind used in cinematography, television or broadcasting) 5%. eh katatawag ko lang sa tariff commission. di ko alam luma na daw ang nasa website ng BOC. may bago na daw di lang updated ang site. ehehehe.. wow..

        sabi ko bayaran ko na lang. bigyan lang ako OR from BOC. wow, may OR nga 1116 lang sa OR. the rest nasa resibo na ng DHL. binigyan ako photocopy ng informal import declaration entry. yung documentary stamp di ko nakita.

        from 5pm inabot ako ng 7:30pm just to get the item. !@#$%^&*

        = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
        what i learned? hindi consistent ang DHL staff, pwede naman pala masagot tanong ko nung monday pa lang. hindi na sana nila pinaabot ng friday.

        dami ko naka kwentuhan.. dami drama sa lobby, sigawan, meron din misdeclaration ng value ng item may penalty sila.

        lalakihan na nila ang reception area nila, sa dami ng tao na nag rereklamo.

        nasa custom pa din ang final say kung tax ka nya or hindi. swertihan lang talaga.

        yung 700 na brokerage fee nawala sa resibo? di ko alam san napunta. hahaha napunta yata sa advance sales tax and specifi tax? nalo nagulo mundo ko.

        mas gusto ng DHL na magreklamo ka mas gusto nila na hindi sagutin ang tanong mo masmatagal mas kikita sila. hindi daw pwede i wave ang storage fee (penalty) na 448 sa custom daw yun. pero nsa OR ng DHL

        magaganda sasakyan ng taga custom.

    • Hello! Im willing to give free professional advice.
      You could call our office with this tel #: (02) 738-49-85.
      Im a Licensed Customs Broker, Professor @ PMI Colleges for Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration, teaching Major subject in Tariff and Customs Laws and International Trade.
      Thanks.

      • ask lng po kung may tax ba me na babayaran sa nakaframe na picture worth 1k usd? kung meron ilang percent ang tariff? tnx

  94. This is just all so shocking. I don’t understand. To the people sending in laptops there is no Tariff on laptops since 2000. Only a 10% or 12% VAT on what you paid for the laptop. (including shipping and insurance)
    All tariffs are spelled out in black and white to the last detail here http://www.tariffcommission.gov.ph/EO_574_annexes.htm

    And with a proper receipt the tariff % should be based on what you paid, not what that item would sell for in the mall.

    Is the new President really interested in stopping corruption, or will he simple me all talk? Seems to me like the tariff law is very straight forward and actually quite reasonable. These CORRUPT custom officials are simply making up laws as they go along instead of following the LAW

    A guitar for instance has a 10% tariff. So a 1,000 guitar should have a tax of 100. at a 12% VAT and other misc fees it should be no greater than a 20% tax. The customs agents are just lying and cheating their fellow countrymen because they don’t know any better. It’s shameful and disgusting to watch.

  95. Hi. I have an online business and ordered some items for my customers. Nothing much doesn’t exceed 50 bucks. it only cost me about 30 dollars. And I have no Idea why it was held in customs. It only contained 2 japanese charms made out of cloth a wig and a bag thats all. I called customs and they told me to wait for my claiming card but after a week I didnt receive anything now I called again and they informed me to just go to customs and claim it. :p what! I wait soo long for my items just for a stupid card and now they tell me to go dirrect. I still have to wait for tomorrow on what theyll charge me. arghhh

  96. yeah probably. i bought some clothes and shoes from china too. it was sent as a gift to avoid taxes. i used FEDEX. but then i was charged by the customs and paid $59.20. so saaad. better choose dpex next time someone told me they are better than fedex,dhl and ups. because my friend didnt pay any taxes,

  97. Hi.. I have recently shipped dresses from China.. its about 30 pieces but the overall worth is just about Php5,000 do you think the customs will charge me for that or will hold my package because of that? I am really worried. Please help..

  98. What is Informal entries by Custom?
    It’s items sent to you declared as personal shipments, it should be valued as less than $500 as per as the Philippine port is concern.

    There are some exceptions such as textiles, certain types of footwear, electronic gadgets and other goods subject to quota/visa restrictions.

    This is what custom is using as clause to overvaluation your incoming shipments.

    What is formal entry by Custom?
    Bulk items coming in generally as commercial shipments. These are goods that are bought cross-border with commercial quantity. It should be supported by a surety bond to ensure payment of duties and compliance with Customs requirements.

    The difference between an informal entry and a formal entry is the bond requirement and the liquidation process. Liquidation is the final computation of duties or drawback accruing to an entry and is the final step in the entry process.

    • Ask your colleagues from all over the country to post theirs too. Many online start-ups are from the provinces. I am from Olongapo and it was hard to get a good broker because there were too few to choose from.

  99. Hi, share ko lang po ang nangyari sa package namin from China, May 13 dumating ang package dito and at the same day clearance delayed na then tumawag ako sa DHL the next day asking them kung bakit clearance delayed and nakalagay sa Tracking ko then sabi ng agent kakarating palang daw kasi kaya kailangan pa iinspect. Then the same day, umalis kami ng husband ko at naiwan ko ang CP ko then paguwi may missed calls ako with unknown caller. The next day, no call or message akong nareceive until mag MAY 17, naka clearance delayed parin so i called DHL again at sinabi na sa akin na i have to settle some additional payments at more than 3 days na ang package ko so may fine na sya. Sabi ko wala naman ko narereceive na call about my package at walang naginform sa akin. Then after 30 minutes may tumawag sa aking from DHL at pinaliwanag na kailangan ko nga daw bayaran ang Customs duty and tax at iconfirm ko daw agad para maparelease na nila para di na daw madagdagan pa ang fine ko. Aabonohan muna daw nila tapos bayaran ko nalang pagkadating ng package sa house. Teary eyed talaga ako habang kausap ko ang agent sa phone kasi hindi ko ineexpect na may babayaran pa kami na mas mahal pa sa Shipping fee na binayad namin, Isang tumatagingting na P2520.20 for less than 4kg na parcel. So no choice talaga kaya pinarelease ko na para mareceive namin ngayong araw na ito ung package ( May18). Nakita ko na nakalagay sa receipt ng pinagbilhan namin na may SAMPLE NO COMMERCIAL VALUE dun at ung declaration na nilagay is USD26 for 20 pc of blouses. At di lang un, pinunit talaga ang plastic ng package para makita ung laman which is dissaponting. Sana ginandahan naman ung pag punit kung ichecheck lang naman nila. Then nagtanong ako sa Chinese na pinagbilihan namin at sabi nya, ngayon lang daw nangyari un at wala naman silang ibang problema sa declared value na nilalagay nila doon. Then sabi the next time na bibili uli kami, bibigyan nya kami ng Certificate of Origin or Origin of Invoice. Makakatulong po ba un para malessen kahit papaano ang babayaran namin?

    • Check my other post regarding setting up an ecommerce company. Iexplain sau ng broker mo or cargo company mu kung para saan yang certificate of origin. Ang explanation sa min is may treaty na pag galing china ang items na hindi valuable, zero ang tax. Pero you have to conduct the transaction as a business entity through a broker.

      • how do i do that? would that broker help me get 0 tax? what if im just an online shop that is not really a legit business, like on paper? i have an online shop here in manila ran through instagram. and recently ive been importing goods from china via CHINA POST AIRMAIL. they only charge a flat rate of 50pesos per package. but the bad thing is it takes too darn long! it takes about 30-40days of waiting. that’s why ive been searching if EMS, or FEDEX wont charge me a lot of tax even if i declare the value as 0. please help me!

  100. Hello! I just wanted to suggest what my friend suggested to me long ago.
    He used to import/sell shoes here in PH (Nike, Supra, Vans)
    He gets his goods from the US. He also had the same problem with
    customs until he found out about “Johnny Air”.

    So to anyone sending goods from US, maybe you guys can try that one.
    Check out their website. They also have local branches in Megamall and Makati.

  101. Someone please help! I just sent my brother a box via USPS priority mail. I sent him his old computer and I believe a few other small things of his personal things to him. The computer (laptop) is probably worth maybe 60-80 USD. But, now the Philippines customs is charging him 5000 PHP! WTH! They are charging double of what the item is even worth. I would love it if someone could please e-mail me so we can figure this mess out. Alongside this craziness, I am expecting to move to the Philippines in the next two years so that my brother and I can start a small business as well. If there are any customs agencies that can contact me so that I have someone on my team that I can hire before they start taxing on tons of money when we start bringing in containers of goods.

  102. hi just wanna share po yung ngyri samin ngpadala po kami ng lumang iphone 4 nmn dto sa US pinadala po nmin sa pinas. nabili lng po nmn ang phone with 2yrs contract at refurbished item ky nkha lng po nmin ng $25………so un na nga po items was declared as GIFT/PHone accesories and worth $50. pgdtng po s pilipinas nahold po sa custom tas my ngtx sa reciever na nahold dw po ung item kz my penalty po dw dhil $50 sa 2 IPHONE? at ang tax +penalty ang total ay P28.756!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hindi po nmn alam kung scam ito or ano . and nagasked po cla ng proof of purchased. so hanap nmn ako sa email ko kung nskn p ang resibo ng at&t. bgo mngyri un ngtx p ung guy from air21 DAW snsb na ipdl ung resibo or email sila or twg cla open dw po cla 9am to 4pm pero ngtx xa ng 5pm ????????subrng sipag nmn nia kht nd working hours ngttrbho xa ???tumwg ako sa fedexUS at my nireport ko ung ngyyri sa item nmn
    naweirduhan dn xa at ngulat sa hinhngeng tax dhil cnb nia kung mgkno man hinhnge nia sa inu kaylngn nkanote smin at kung tnry n kayu kontkin pero wl dw kht isang note n nklgy dun .. nklgy lng dw ay “imports delay” so gumawa kmi claim sa item some agent from US dw ng fedex will call sa pinas to check the item. and then tumwg sila ulit dun sa guy for air21 DAW pndl nila ung proof of purchase nmn at sinabing nd npo mbbgo un sir ky ggil n ggil ung reciever e bkt p nga nmn nghinge ng resibo kung balewala dn tas bnwasan nung guy ang sabi pa daw e ” oh sige po sir 21k nalang dw po pero kylngn nyu prin po bayaran ung penalty nyu ng 4k ” sp 25k? so nakamenos pa kmi ng 3k+ sakny at cno cla pr mgkkrptn magbawas sknla b mpponta pera ? db sa cutoms lagi nia kami hinohold sa phone pr dw kuspn ung tg customs sabi nung recievr nmn pwd pkusp sa customs ? nd dw pwd bkt nd pwd e kung inuutusan lng cla ng customs singilin tax at cargo lng cla at cnb nmn iiblk nlng ung item sa US sb ibblik or ibbgy sa reciever mgbbyd prn po kmi ng same amount ng 28k!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ……pwde po ba pki sabi samin kung normal lang tong pangungurakot na toh oh matindi na pangungurakot toh ang pangln po ng guy n nkuusp namin is EUGUNE IGA from air21 quezon city phone# 855 8450 patulong nmn po kung cno nkkilala skny or try kontakin xa kung totoo ngang tg air21 yan…sana mkuha n nmn ung package

  103. Pingback: How to Circumvent Hefty Customs Tax and Start Your eCommerce Business Right | Open.For.Consult!

  104. Bat pa kailanganga maningil ng DHL ns costum tax ko hindi naman ibibinta at personal use. ang laki pa ng kinukuhang amount mas mahal pa kisa sa halaga nong package ko.

  105. Hi everyone,

    Just want to hear your advice, i’m planning to buy toys from china about 72pcs and payment will be on Monday morning. According to the supplier, it will be shipped tru DHL a door to door service.. Just confused after reading this blog. Meron pa po ba ako babayaran? in their invoice freight, customs clearing fee is included na. Ano po un, pagdating po ba ng parcel dito sa Pinas meron pb ako babayara? How much po? please enlighten me.. Thanks

  106. Philippines is not that business-friendly. World Bank has ranked the Philippines no. 4 among The World’s 10 Worst Countries for Business. Bureacracy and corruption stunts our progress. As a budding entrepreneur joining the e-Commerce bandwagon, I’m so pleased to have come across this blog. We are way, way behind in this mode of trading. A conducive business climate will inspire more Filipinos to venture into entrepreneurship instead of aspiring to be OFWs.

  107. Wow, i never thought i went to all these comments, i spent like 3hours reading each comments.

    late 2011 i bought few dress for my wife, everything goes well i even picked it up on airport LBC. Now last april 07 2012 bought new clothes from china. My worries is, i might not get lucky with the second bought and charge for custom tax (overcharge)

    Anyway i am in mindanao, i’ll take there head off, if they’ll Fnck my way.

    Thanks ZeroMD for such great blog.

  108. Sad but true. I am into the online selling business as well. customs people treat our package as their everyday christmas package. and since i regularly get my items from the post office, they would sometimes ask me for money or buy them load since they proactivley text me whenever my package arives. these poeple should be featured in XXX or Imbestigador. if you see the post office in QC (NIA Road), it looks like any other government office (not to mention their comfort room is horrible). the employees are vets in terms of luring their customers into paying less of their tax due. “gusto mo wag na lang nating resibuhan…” is a standard line.

    • Why don’t you people who are victims of this corruption go ahead report them? I wrote an email to Imbestigador directing them here and this is what they wrote back (see below). So anyone who are a victim of BOC corruption go ahead and coordinate with them.

      Magandang Araw Po.

      Natanggap namin ang inyong sulat tungkol sa pagnanais ninyong storya tungkol sa Bureau of Customs. Maraming salamat sa suhestyon, ipaparating namin ito sa aming production team upang mapag-aralan. Kung pamilyar po kayo sa programa, nakakapagpalabas kami ng mga storya kung saan nakukuhanan ng surveillance video ang anomalyang inilalapit habang aktwal na nangyayari. Ito ay naisasagawa sa pamamagitan ng isang impormanteng kabisado ang operasyon at handang makipagtulungan sa amin tungkol dito. Kung may kakilala kayo, maaari ninyong patawagin sa (02)928-4713 Lunes-Biyernes 9-12, 1-5 maliban sa piyesta opisyal.

      Maraming Salamat!

      Ang Sumbungan ng Bayan,
      Imbestigador

  109. tax and tariff based on 30% of the value of the product should be the standard, taxes on freight should also be charged separately. The Philippine government compound taxes on top of taxes which should be amended in the law. The law must be updated parallel to the times and should not keep our country from moving forward.

    I call out to anyone out there, our law makers, our supposedly correct and truthful administration! If you truly seek change and dream to give better this nation a chance to compete then you must work from within. Amend our laws and eliminate the laws that were created by the greedy.

  110. Hey.. it also happened to me.. same items from china .. they charged me 8,000 pesos what I purchased was only 200 USD .. I was crying and asking if they could lower it but then they told me its already fixed and if I will not get it on that day my shipment will be put on hold plus there will also be a storage fee cost 50 pesos per day.! WTF did customs here in the phils think to those small entrepreneurs who are just starting to build small buss?eh kurakot naman sila

    • One thing I’ve learned people in the government are theives no matter what and care for themselves….I recently bought a book in Amazon…I had to pick it up at the Makati post office. Pag kakita Amazon galing open agad…tapos nag ask personal use ba daw…its 1 piece of book of course its personal use. Then umaangal yung babae na dapat di na daw sinasayangan ng resibo daw or something who knows what. Then she tells me, next time tax na kita.

      So how do you expect people in this country to grow…simple book for people to read and grow TAXABLE. Its as if this book is published locally.

  111. Did you know that there are many people who never collect their goods after they are informed about the costs. We have a friend who imported a car from Japan, he had to pay 1 million on taxes and just left the car with the customs. Then a German who imported a Harley Davidson motor bike after hearing the costs he never collected the motor.
    I work in Singapore regularly and import goods their so easy, its delivered in my hotel and on an item from China that cost the same like my solar panels I paid only 35 S$, put it in a balik bayan box and send it to Philippines.
    Increasing the share of sustainable and renewable power in the Philippines is a nice though but a UTOPIA. Although the ministry of energy has high hopes :

    MALACAÑANG
    Manila

    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES

    EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 376

    MODIFYING THE RATES OF IMPORT DUTY ON CERTAIN IMPORTED ARTICLES UNDER SECTION 104 OF THE TARIFF AND CUSTOMS CODE OF 1978 AS AMENDED, IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT SECTION 1 OF REPUBLIC ACT 9281, REINSTATING THE EFFECTIVITY OF TAX INCENTIVES UNDER SECTION 109 OF REPUBLIC ACT 8435, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES MODERNIZATION ACT OF 1997

    WHEREAS, the government needs to provide duty exemption to importations of eligible agriculture and fisheries enterprises to promote and foster their efficiency and global competitiveness;

    WHEREAS, Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9281 enacted into law on March 30, 2004, amends Section 109 of Republic Act No. 8435 otherwise known as the “Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997″ as follows “all enterprises engaged in agricultural and fisheries duly certified by the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Finance and Board of Investments, shall, up to the year 2015, be exempted from the payment of tariff duties for the importation of all types of agriculture and fishery inputs, equipment and machinery such as but not limited to, fertilizer, insecticide, pesticide, tractor, trailers, trucks, farm implements and machinery, harvesters, threshers, hybrid seeds, genetic materials, sprayers, packaging machinery and materials, bulk-handling facilities such as conveyors, mini-loaders, weighing scales, harvesting scales, harvesting equipment, spare parts of all agricultural equipment, fishing equipment and parts thereof, refrigeration equipment, and renewable energy systems such as solar panels; Provided, however, that the imported agriculture and fishery inputs, equipment and machinery shall be for the exclusive use of the importing enterprise”;

    WHEREAS, Section 109 of Republic Act No. 8435 was implemented by Executive Order (EO) No. 133, series of 1999, and its annexes, as amended by EO 127, series of 2002, the effectivity of which lapsed on 08 February 2003;

    WHEREAS, paragraph (2) of Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9281 provides that “the Department, in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Board of Investment, shall, within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act, formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations governing the importation of agricultural and fishery inputs, equipment and machinery.”

    WHEREAS, Sections 104 and 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978 (Presidential Decree No. 1464), as amended, empower the President of the Republic of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority, to increase, reduce, or remove existing protective rates of import duty, as well as to modify the form of duty.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

    SECTION 1. Importation of Articles under Annex “B”. The articles specifically listed in Annex “B” hereof, classified under Section 104 of the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978, as amended, shall be tariff-exempt up to 31 December 2015, provided that the importation of said articles shall be accompanied by a certificate of eligibility or accreditation duly issued by the Department of Agriculture and its deputized agencies and shall be subject to the rules and regulations outlined in Annex “A” hereof.

    SECTION 2. Fees. Agencies deputized to implement the provisions of this EO and its Annexes, shall be authorized to collect administrative fees at minimal and reasonable costs. The DA and DTI shall prescribe uniform and harmonized rates and shall issue the schedules of fees in a separate Department Administrative Order.

    SECTION 3. Review. The Department of Agriculture, Department of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry, and DTI-Board of Investments, in consultation with concerned private sector and other government institutions shall conduct an annual review of the attached Annexes “A” and “B”, and shall report the findings of said review and shall recommend possible amendments to the President.

    SECTION 4. Repealing Clause. All Presidential issuances, administrative rules and regulations, or parts thereof, which are inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby revoked or modified accordingly.

    SECTION 5. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect thirty (30) days following its complete publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.

    Upon the effectivity of this Executive Order, the abovementioned articles which are entered and withdrawn from warehouses in the Philippines shall be levied the rates of duty herein prescribed.

    DONE in the City of Manila, this 22nd day of October in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Four.

    Signature of the President

    By the President:

    (signed)
    EDUARDO R. ERMITA
    Executive Secretary

  112. Hello,

    Third rate solar panels 8 pcs, total costs including shipment to Manila is 520US.
    Just see the quotaion and judge yourself.

    Increase the renewable and sustainable power in the Philippines with help of the customs, its one of the reasons that the Philippines could never share themselves under the Asian Tigers .
    People on crucial places place their own interests before those which are in favour for the development of their country. It’s a pity.
    As a foreigner just keep low profile and relax, do not start any business, it will cause stress and irritation and that is not good for your health.

    309 A2 ROMANA STREET TONDO, MANILA, PHILIPPINES
    TEL NO. 2550523 * FAX 254-5634 E-MAIL: eduardrc007@yahoo.com.ph

    March 31, 2012

    JOSEFINA ASCANO
    Puerto Princesa, Palawan

    Attention: MA’AM JOSEFINA ASCANO

    Subject: I PALLET SOLAR MODULE

    Dear Ma’am:

    Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to quote on the above captioned subject. Please see our below net/net rates, as follows:

    Processing ₱ 2,500.00
    Documentation 500.00
    Forms & Stamps 500.00
    Handling 500.00
    Delivery to Domestic 1,500.00
    Brokerage Service Fee 2,700.00
    Agents Facilitation 5,000.00
    Duty/Tax Facilitation 14,000.00 customs will be the one to decide the receipted tax.
    TOTAL ₱ 27,200.00

    Plus RECEIPTED CHARGES as follows:
    Warehouse/Storage Charges 8,000.00 estimated only
    Local Destination Charges 7,500.00 estimated only
    Freight to Palawan Via Sea 8,500.00 OR
    VIA AIR 13,500.00
    Documentary Requirements:
    1.) Original Airway bill
    2.) Commercial Invoice
    3.) Packing List
    4.) Original HBR 0102512

    Hope above rates is competitive and acceptable. For your comment please call 2550523.

    Thank you very much.

    Very truly yours,

    EDUARD R. CASTANEDA
    Manager

    • Nice reply Mr Mulder. I mean it’s a direct evidence against customs practices and you even placed a name who gave you the charges. On your next reply down below, I took the liberty of bolding the necessary phrases: SOLAR PANELS SHOULD NOT BE TAXED UNTIL 2015.

      So how did they come up with the tax of “14000″ and the receipt will be from customs? Wow.

      • I quote some part from mails I received :

        Please take note that we have only 30 days to claim the cargo from date of arrival otherwise your cargo may declared abandon and forfeited in favor of gov’t.

        Look at this one!!!!!! another quote I pasted from a mail i received, you can build a new warehouse in a couple of days:

        When did arrive Manila Port? Storage in can cost you around PhP 5,000.00 to PhP 6,500.00 per cbm per day.

        I mailed with the renewable and sustainable energy ministry who promote this and are very proud on the achieved targets, I know that big foreign companies in renewable power backed off after not getting the needed guarantees.
        Even in Singapore I was reading the story of a customs officer driving the latest model Porsche car while shooting an Aquino friend who had to filter the customs apparatus.

  113. Hi everyone. I also had a horrifying experience with customs when I purchased goods for my business. Cost of my item was around P30,000. They taxed me P22,000. Shocked, I went to the customs to personally negotiate. I was actually willing to pay the taxes, but I needed explanations as to why it was taxed that much! After four hours of waiting for all the breaks they seemed to be enjoying everyday (one of the person I talked to even had a masseur during office hours!!! And she was getting a massage while we were talking), they scraped all taxes in one condition (and maybe one of the most disappointing moments in my Filipino life): “Magiwan ka na lang ng pangmerienda. Sigurado gutom na mga yan”. Talk about real-life buwaya.

    Anyway, guys I’m making an official letter to the Customs head and President Aquino regarding this. As an entrepreneur who would be transacting with this people all my life, I wanted this to reach them. But I need your help! Kindly like and post your experiences to this page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philippine-Customs-Stop-Killing-Small-Time-Entrepreneurs

    We should all make a buzz about this to be heard.

  114. ha ha puro kayo reklamo when you guys dont even have any idea!the main reason for the high taxes is to discourage importations and for you to avail of locally produced goods.what you guys are doing is that you are trying to undermine the local industries here.the BOC doesnt just get their assesments from a rabbits hat there are guidelines and revenue rulings made by the DOF and the BOC which are published in newspapers (that is why you are not aware of them is because you dont bother to read those announcements)but as a rule of law once this notices are published in a paper of general circulation that is considered effective henceforth.the TS is presumably a doctor as evidenced by his/her username and by all means being a doctor doesnt make him/her an expert on other matters such as taxation.I suggest that you consult people qualified regarding taxation matters as I would not consult my lawyer for my health concerns.

    • This was 2 years ago kid. I’ve learned my ways and made headways in BOC ruling. I may be a doctor but I’m in the business of import/export for the past 2 years. And despite what you said, experience dictates that the BOC does pull rabbits out of a hat. You should really try watching their magic first hand.

    • Here’s the magic: I showed my case and my items to one of my brokers before and he showed me how it was to be correctly computed. With a certificate of origin from china, my customs tax is supposed to be ZERO. Fashion accessories with no precious metals or stones are not to be taxed.I was to pay 200+ for the brokerage and transaction fee. Now how did BOC come up with the computation above? [drum roll] A Rabbit!

    • Hello Sir
      Do I need to pay duties and taxes at the BOC when I have already paid 40% of duties and taxes from the purchased amount before it was shipped from the importers in the USA. Clearance Delay from DHL Tracking and received a message today from unknown brokers from the Philippines. Is this legitimate transaction.

  115. hi everyone! i would just like to ask for any opinions on the situation. My husband in japan wants to send me an iphone and an ipad. i dont wanna pay customs 200% of the value or whatever because its a gift! I dont believe its right! do I tell my husband to try to conceal his gift and maybe just declare its food or used clothing or something and just pray to God they (customs or whoever) dont find out? hehe. i dont know what to do! maybe they’ll charge me 15000php or more if my husband declare the goods. waaah!

    • hi michi! i don’t think that concealing the items and declaring it as another thing will work. before you send and item in a post office or a courier, they always check what the item is. couriers even check and test the condition electronic items since most of these items are insured, if ever something happens to like if the items get damaged or loss. then they assess the content of your item when it arrives here. even if your package is sent through a post office via air post, registered mail or ems, once you pick up your package in the post office they open it up to inspect it and assess the value of item for import duties and tax. so if you if you declare it as something else, you’ll just get into trouble. even if it is declared as gift, it will still get taxed, this is and ipad and iphone we’re talking about here, they wouldn’t let it just get away no matter what you say, that it’s just a gift. even if it’s gift wrapped, they’ll open and unwrap it for you. believe me, i saw it happen right infront of me. i once picked up a package ath the post office. there’s another lady before who was claiming her package, it was boxed in a usps priority box (u.s. post) and was marked a gift. the custom officers was asking the lady what’s inside but the lady said, she has no idea, it was a gift. so they opened the box, inside was a unsealed card and floral paper bag with lots of giftwrapping tissue in it. the custom officer checked the inside of the envelope and peeked inside of the card, probably thinking there might be “dollars” inside it. and then peeked inside the paper bag, as if it was the gift was for them, pulling some of the paper tissues aside. once he saw the content of the paper bad, he quickly stuffed covered it with paper tissues and put it back in the box. i couldn’t help but smile from that reaction. he probably saw a sexy lingerie inside, lol, since the paper bag looks really light. well, they didn’t tax the lady for her gifts but since the cost of shipping for priority mail is like 50+ dollars, they were still charging her tax for that. can you imagine? no tax for the goods but tax for the shipping? i know that they include that the amount of shipping to the amount of your package when they calculate for import duties but why charge for the shipping fee only? the lady was asking she needs to pay for like 700 php for the shipping when her boyfriend has paid for the shippng already, the custom officer told her she has to pay the tax, what tax? of the shipping fee? corrupt, totally corrupt! i didn’t know what happened after that, someone came to assist me on my package (btw, i didn’t get taxed, i always make sure may items do not amount to more that 30 dollars and my shipping was free). anyway, what i’m trying to say is that you wouldn’t get away with getting an ipad and iphone here from another country without getting ripped off, i mean taxed, =) by the customs. it’s probably better for your husband to send you the money and then just find some good deals online here, otherwise, expect the worst. good luck!

  116. Hello! Wow! after reading all the blogs and comments here…well I think it is just but right to say that the Custom people are a whole bunch of shit. Just today I got a call from fedex telling me that my parcel has finally arrived here in angeles city but i have to pay P2,400 for the tax or whatsoever. I know it’s just a minimal amount compared to what you guys have paid for your goods, but the thing is it’s just the same as the price I paid for the items I bought on line. My God, is this what the slogan says? “IT”S MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES”

  117. Hello, Zero MD. I apologize for just jumping right into things, but I’ve been reading about these things (package delays, customs tax, lost mail, etc etc) like crazy ever since my boyfriend who lives in the US sent me a late Valentines’ gift in the mail. I’m really nervous and scared that Customs or the local post office would poke around with it/steal it/tax me for it. It’s my first ever personal package from abroad, so I’m really, really nervous about it (to the point that I’m awake past 2am looking up stuff about BoC and PhilPost). I’m wondering if the stuff he’s sending me are hugely taxable somehow. He said he filled up the customs forms and paid for shipping (which I suspect included customs tax and duties, because he was walked through the whole process of it by a worker at the postal office). The package is labelled as a gift, and is completely traceable (I’ve been obsessively tracking it via the website since its shipment). It contains a Wii (second hand, of course) and some chocolates. He also mentioned another secret gift in there, but I’m hoping I would get to open it at the comfort of my home to find out what it is to actually be pleasantly surprised (you know, kilig moment), instead of in front of a customs’ officer and be taxed ridiculously for it (stressing me out instead of just letting me be happy). Also, I’ve known for a while that Filipinos are suckers for gadgets and electronics–I’m pretty sure the Wii is included in that list, so some hands might get a little itchy, if you know what I mean.

    What I’m scared of are these scenarios: 1) my package will be held at Customs, just because, and take weeks to clear it, thereby wasting the senders’ money (he paid extra for fast shipment) AND possibly melting my chocolates AND I get taxed for it anyway, 2) I actually receive my package at my address early and I haven’t been taxed, but it’s damaged/opened/missing an item/just an empty box, 3) a mix of stuff from scenarios 1 and 2, and 4) I don’t receive it at all.

    According to tracking, the package arrived in the Philippines on Feb 27, 6:02am, and into Customs Clearance at 7:27am. Since it’s an express package that’s supposed to be mailed to the recipient within a maximum of 7 days, how long do I have to wait for the package to be done with processing before I start throwing a fit and having a series of panic attacks? Both me and my boyfriend aren’t made of money, so any kind of loss/added cost for this one package is kind of a big deal. It’s no fun if something special like this gets tampered with, just because some people need something to fill their pockets.

    I’ve read that anything sent via postage (USPS) that is valued under $1000 isn’t dutiable or taxable, but I still hear some stories of people having to pay taxes for gifts anyway. And even if it isn’t taxable, I still have to worry about PhilPost/EMS handling the package for delivering, simply because the employees are Filipinos and therefore suspicious (FYI, I’m pure Noypi, residing in the Philippines since birth, so I pretty much grew into this corruption–the only Filipinos I trust are those whose eyes and hands aren’t subject to be on anything of mine that’s expensive or of sentimental value). I would much rather pick up the package at the post office if I have to, but the problem is that I don’t have the time to do so, but I’m also afraid that if I wait too long, scenarios 1 to 4 could happen. So yeah, I’m in quite a fix.

    Sorry if I just rambled on and on. I’ve been worrying since Feb 22, which is the day he sent the package, and I just really don’t know how to deal with it. It’s my first time having a package sent to me, so I just want it to go well. I’m even more nervous about this than I was when I first entered high school AND college combined. That says a lot about how trustworthy Filipinos are about handling mail. I hope I’m just being too paranoid… but seeing the latest news about BoC (smuggled rice that are undertaxed, Porsche driving Customs officer) just makes me think my fears are pretty legit. :(

    ANYWAY. Thanks for reading, if you even got this far. I talk too much and I apologize for that. You’ve been helpful to a lot of people in your comments, so that’s pretty awesome. You’re not being anti-nationalistic, by the way. ;) You just posted what needed to be seen, and from the looks of it, you’ve helped a lot of people. So we all thank you.

    God bless and goodnight. :)

    Sincerely,
    A Nervous Wreck Passing by your blog

    • If this is the first time, you might get by easily. Probably 2 to 3 days. You can call the courier tomorrow. Philpost right? I have no complaints registered here from that courier. It really depends if customs will tax you big time. Wii prices have already dropped here sa Pinas. You can complain but just remember to maintain composure.

      • Thank you for your response. I’m only iffy about PhilPost because it’s run by the government and I have actually read some complaints about them, but usually for the rural areas (I live in Manila). I’ll call the courier first thing tomorrow, thanks!

        And I guess there’s nothing that can be done if it still depends on the customs if I get taxed a lot. I’m hoping sana na nahihiya sila ngayon because of the negative publicity they currently have and not try to do anything too ridiculous. If something were to happen, I would be sure to complain, although I’m not quite sure about maintaining my composure. I’m going to need some back up!

        I saw the continuation of this story, by the way, and I feel reassured that customs wouldn’t care about stuff labelled as gifts for the most part. Still, it’s a $200 declared gift package, so here’s hoping they let it pass smoothly. Not sure if USPS is a major carrier though, but I hope they’re not waiting around for packages through it.

        I think I can finally sleep soundly now. Thanks again for your response. :) I hope you have a good day. God bless! :D

        Thankfully,
        A Not-So-Nervous Wreck Passerby

    • Well if USPS then its gonna go through the Post Office and you will definitely pick it up…most of my packages that go through post office have to be picked up and checked. I had my boyfriend send me a wallet worth $200 and I was taxed Php 3,400….and its labeled as a gift…its just a wallet and a gift. ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES kahit gift taxable….so might as well tell people not to send you gifts outside the country instead purchase online locally or something or if you know someone coming home….pasuyo na lang sa kanila.

  118. Hellothere it’s been one week waiting for tracking number 7159798144 to be release under the name of adelaida rivera herreria which contain of my medicine for anti rejection for my kidney namely prograf,leflunomide,prilosec and prednisone please kindly release them i’m running out of that medicine kindly release them in dhl office and i really appreciate for youre help.

    • All your drugs are available in the Philippines. I am sorry I cannot help you. I do not hold your package. DHL does. You should call them immediately to have your shipment delivered. I do not have any power whatsoever to release any package. I am a doctor in Olongapo.

      Inform your transplant specialist immediately should you run out of prograf and leflunomide. Prilosec (omeprazole) and Prednisone are inexpensive and can be bought at generic drug stores.

    • You should not post your tracking number and name at this blog, especially your mail courier. You just subjected yourself from abuse by possible posers who can get your package readily. Always transact with your courier.

  119. I’ve been waiting the package under the name of my wife adelaida rivera herreria which contain of my medicine for anti rejection of my kidney of which i’m running out of it could please release those medicine namely prograf,leflunomide,prilosec and prednisone i really appreciate it so much for youre help.

  120. Just wanna share my experience. Previously I posted about my online purchases. Luckily it turned out good. I received my packages on the exact date as my seller told me. No delays. Picked it up at my local post office, (which is in Marikina, since I live here) . So I paid 15 php for the postal stamp I think, then the customs officer told me I need to pay something for the tax. But then, he looked unsure of the price- (being a sales guy, I know that is a perfect timing for me to counter his requests) And so I said, that the items shipped to me was only “GIFTS” and that they’re not expensive as they’re only “FASHION WATCHES” and I’ve requested the declared price of the items to be lowered. I didn’t give the custom officer a time to re-think his plans of having me pay for a tax, I said “Salamat po talaga, next time po ulit” And so he said, next time kahet pang meryenda lang. Hahaha. But the funny thing is, if I didn’t spend my time reading thru this BLOG, I wouldn’t know what to do and what to expect from a customs officer. So I wanna thank this guy who wrote this blog, this is a really big help bro! I wish everyone who shop online wouldn’t have to experience all the hassle there is, and hopefully e-commerce here in Philippines would be booming.

    Thank you very much! :))

    • I actually had no intention of helping anybody when I wrote this post. I was just flaming, venting off anger and that was 2 years ago. Nothing much has changed. But I’m glad, we have learned from this experience. Electronic Commerce has to boom. We can’t keep up with other countries if we stop at this obstacle.

      Your very welcome, Gerard.

  121. Can I ask how much would the tax me if I bought 31$ worth of cosmetics from korea? It was a free shipping though. It’s my first time ordering online and I got scared when I saw your post.

  122. may courier ba na hndi dumadaan sa customs o lahat dumadaan.. bumili kc aku online tas sabi sa tracking “handed over customs” kailangan ku tuloy hintayin dito sa post office namin since taga pangasinan aku.. sana hndi malaki ang tax.. may courier ba na hndi dumadaan sa customs? sbi kc door-to-door ung sakin pero wala rin naman.. bakit dati nag-order aku ng same item ganun din pero dumating door-to-door hndi siya dumaan sa customs?? anu ung pinipili ung lalagyan ng tax?

    • All items brought to the country goes through customs. It seems that the first time they see your name import an item, they let it through. The second time, they think you’re an opportunistic importer and they let you have the tax. You see, they want you to be a registered business and conduct importation through a broker. It’s the only way.

  123. WOW-what experiences. Lets see if Germany tops this.
    Sent a small package to Berlin with a baby outfit for the new baby-nothing else.
    The green customs form was filled in and attached to the front.
    I get notice, that the package is held by Customs in Berlin- supposedly the form was missing.
    So I faxed the info they wanted and they claim,they did not get it.
    So I sent the info to my niece.
    Customs said, they will release the package to DHL for sending on to my niece in Berlin.
    Next thing we know- the package arrives Back here in USA with me.
    Are they totally bonkers.
    And the Post Office wonders, why they loose customers- WOW-
    and not DHL or USPS will do anything about this.

  124. Hi. . My bf will send me a used iPhone as a gift for valentine’s day. I’ve read that it’ll be taxed even if declared as gift. I’m wondering if how much will it be taxed? Any advice on what I should do and how I should plead my case @ the customs? Any courier you would suggest from Taiwan? Would really appreciate any help/advice as I don’t have a job right now and couldn’t pay a big amount. Thanks in advance.

    • No courier suggested. Either he or somebody else can hand carry the iPhone at the airport for you. Customs seems to like electronics so much. I wouldn’t risk it, especially if its an iPhone.

  125. Hi there!!!

    After reading all your posts, I started being paranoid.

    I ordered SECOND HAND ITEMS from a friend in Malaysia. It’s just a book (http://www.yesasia.com/us/the-beginning-fahrenheit/1021372801-0-0-0-en/info.html) and some action figures (http://www.yesasia.com/us/fahrenheit-mini-figures-limited-edition/1005097285-0-0-0-en/info.html). I used to order the same book 3 years ago thru books.com.tw and I was never charged of anything. Now I’m really wondering why my package status is Clearance Delay, to think na dumaan na ng HK yung package before arriving here in PH. What pisses me is I’ve read that Customs charge 100-200%! Grabe naman yun! Is there any way for me to prevent it from happening?

    Btw, have you tried reporting it to media? I think that’s the only way we have para matigil na overcharging ng customs.

    • A representative from Brigada Siete already contacted me, which means they were reading the blog. Unfortunately, they dropped the subject after they had a talk with customs. They did not speak to me again.

      There are some legitimate reasons why they pose so high a charge but it’s really unfair to people who seldomly use the courier services. The only way we found to work is to setup a business entity and deal with brokers. Otherwise balikbayan boxes offer a longer alternative.

      If you read through the comments though, you will find unfair use of customs power. I guess the media doesn’t think it worthy of their time to investigate.

      • “I guess the media doesn’t think it worthy of their time to investigate.”

        Now stop me if I’m wrong, but could it be they were paid to stop the investigation or worse, threatened with death? After all, the Philippines is one of the countries where mediamen are silenced by killing them :D

  126. My friend in US send me a phone using priority mail international on January 3, 2012 but until I did not received it. my local post office here in Roxas City Capiz my package is not arrived yet. My friend ask USPS employees and they said package arrived last 2 weeks and held in foreign custom. Why until now custom hold my package? It’s almost 1 month now since my friend post the package. somebody help me here is my cel # 09215799155.

  127. hi, i got the same bit of experience here in pampanga. A friend sent me a ring via post (gold with a diamonds). Diamonds not real. And bought it at 70 percent off sale. But the local post asking me for almost 400 dollor custom tax! I was so shock i could collapse right there and there. Its like paying for two more rings :( this is the first time. What do u think i could do about it? Was it customs or the freaking people at my local post office?

  128. Hi Mitsuki! Thank you very much for your reply. Now I know exactly what I’m gonna do whenever I purchase something online, send it all to my relatives in USA and make them stuff it all up in one big balikbayan box. I can wait 45 days if it means less the hassle and the best part is they don’t have weight limits? SWEET! :)

    Anyways, I’ve made a stupid decision of “Testing the waters” by purchasing a watch from Singapore (But accdg. to the seller the item will be coming from Hongkong post ofc.) and have it shipped directly here in the Philippines. I just wanna know how much will BOC charge me and how long does it take, (matigas talaga ulo ko hehe) But for the other items which is more expensive, i have it shipped to USA, so etong watch lang na worth 80 USD ang hinihintay ko ngayon, the item was purchased last January 17, 2012 so mga 8-15 working days pa. Gusto ko lang ma-experience yung hassle kahet onti para lang alam ko. :)) But everything else was purchased and shipped to USA.

    Thanks again! Have a great day

  129. I have 2 nintendo. 3ds console with games ready for shipping amd also abb playbook.. Would like to ask for any tips, its currently on global express and they say they deliver the package on what i want, they can even say its used, $50, and as a gift. But pls i need tips coz its my first time and thinking about tax i might pay php10,000 tax from a total purchase of $700 shipping not included, is websites like myshoppingbox any good? Im currently dying seeing 99.9% negative feedbacks :(

  130. OMG i was unaware and i bought 2 3ds consoles with games about $350
    , also a BB playbook $430
    any idea how much i need to pay and tips how to save? :’(

  131. Hi ZeroMD,

    I’ve read all of the messages here and quite frankly, I’m disgusted on how our local government deals with this kind of transactions. I strongly agree that the whole point of taxing items coming from diff. countries is to discourage Filipinos from buying imported goods vs locally made ones. And yes, from taxes our dear country gets money which our leaders use to run and “beautify” Philippines. (but unfortunately that’s not the case) We can go on for 10years posting our hatred towards our law-makers and politicians here in the internet but I’m sure none of these will make an impact. So I’d rather not…

    Anyways, my main concern is about several purchases I “WILL” make online. It’s really tempting to buy imported goods since they are cheaper compared to items being sold here, another thing, is we have more choices when we shop online. Plus the term they say “FREE SHIPPING” is really alluring. One might think that you’ll just have to pay $50 for a pair of shoes and that’s it, it’ll be delivered right at your doorstep. (Atleast that’s what I thought long time ago)

    So before making these purchases, I made an effort to read dozens of blogs and other articles regarding “Importing goods here in the Philippines” . That’s how I got to your blog. I’ve cherry picked a couple of good courier services too. My plan is to send it to my brother who lives in New York, or to my cousins in LA and have it shipped to me here in the Philippines by Johnny Air or Forex. Now, it gave me several questions left unanswered: Now that these products will be shipped to USA, and they’ll send it to me with a balikbayan box. Will it be delivered at my address? or do i need to pick it up? will it undergo customs’ appraisal/checking? do I still pay taxes? fees? (PS these are Nike shoes and some other branded sneakers)

    Also, I have another purchase, and the seller is just in hongkong. it’s a watch worth $80, I’ll get 3 of those. Since the seller is just near us, I think the most logical thing to do is to have it shipped directly to me versus the plan stated above. But after reading posts from diff. people stating problems they’ve experienced in BOC and Fedex and what have you, I got scared and plans on sending it to the US as well. What do you think? Guys please help me as I”m really interested in shopping online just like the rest of you guys. (Also, if this goes smoothly, I might as well venture into eCommerce business) Wish me luck!

    Thanks! :)

    • hi, i have been an online shopper for quite some time and i have learned a lot thru my experiences in buying stuffs online. if you have your items shipped thru a balikbayan box, it will be delivered directly to your house and you no longer have to deal with customs checking because the courier will be the one taking care of the clearing. you made the right decision to send the items to your relatives in the u.s.a. and use other means of shipping because all the well known courier (fedex, ups, dhl, etc.) do not inlcude the customs clearing in their services. you will surely get a 200% charge from your items like everyone else. i have been using johnny air to ship my items coming from the u.s.a. and i can tell you that they really have a great service. i often use their air cargo service for as low as $ 6.50/lb minimum of 2 pounds you can get your items in a week, but you have to pick it up in any of their branch of your choice. if you use the balikbayan box service, it will take 45 days for your it to arrive but it will be delivered right to your doorstep and you have an entire box to fill without any weight limit. both of these service include the customs clearing already so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

      regarding your watch, it’s best to send it to the u.s.a. as well. your items will arrive their faster even if you just use a registered air mail rather than shipping it here with so many delays. i know these because i bought items from hk and i use an ordinary airmail service, it took about a little over a month to arrive. i bought another items in hk and send it to u.s.a. and guess what? shipping was free and it took only 10 days via ordinary airmail. if had it shipped here, i have to pay for shipping and wait for more than a month plus not to mention customs inspection. even if you use fedex, dhl or ups your item would stil be delayed because of the customs clearing plus not to mention the over the top charge. don’t get me wrong i have nothing against being charged by customs tax as long as it’s reasonable. i have been charge with customs tax a couple of times before when i have my items shipped thru air mail. and i think that compared to using fedex, dhl, ups. it’s easier to deal with the customs officer in the post office. because at the post office they will only open your package when you claim it any they will base the price with the electronic receipt that you have with you and that’s the only time they will do the computation. unlike with the couriers, they will assess the amount of the item not on the price that you bought it for but on its current value here, so that’s kind of unfair already.

      anyways, i hope this helps and good luck to you! =)

      • HI Mitsuki, can I get in touch with you? I want to ask you some questions about doing business online. I have placed two orders with my supplier using LBC Balikbayan box. I wonder if you could help me with some of my doubts? I hope to hear from you, barce59@yahoo.com is my address. Thank you so much.

  132. interesting blog ZeroMD. Thanks for this! I read 90% of the messages on this page. As I go along, I can feel the frustrations and more fear on starting small ecommerce business :( I understand the encouragement of exports from the governement. I want to explore that options too, but for the timebeing, I can only afford and do small time buyandsell online. I am an OFW, and just wanted to guide and provide a small business to my un-employed College graduate brother who sad to say cannot land any job in the Philippines. Anyway, I was thinking to import second hand laptops. I found a good source online from US, luckily I check first what could be my excise tax, customs duty etc… any chance of seeing the “cheat sheet” ? Surely I want to pay tax, but I dont want the business to flap due to very high mark-ups too.

    Mmm.. i am interested to know the chinese way, maybe you can share it to me via email? sounds cheeky, if it is legal why not, if its illegal then I pass ;p

  133. Pingback: [EDITED] bribing has become a way of life in pinas…so sad :( « polvoron is love.

  134. Hi, I would just like to inquire about this particular problem of mine. I’m suppose to receive a camera from South Korea and it was shipped via Fedex. According to the tracking system of fedex, the item arrived last december 22 and the status is “clearance delay”. This is my first time to encounter a problem like this. I called the local fedex office and they said that they will call their main office in manila and update me on the matter. Todate, I haven’t received any call from them. This is my first time to receive something via fedex since i usually receive/send via DHL. This is not the first time i’m receiving a camera from overseas. I’m expecting to pay custom duties for this but was wondering why the delay this time. What should I do? any advice? Thanks in advance

      • thanks for the advice. i actually called up fedex main office this afternoon and they said that they need something from the shipper and that they emailed the shipper regarding this. will try to follow up tomorrow on the status. i wonder what they need from the shipper? The shipper is Samsung Korea. Anyway, i’m just hoping i could receive my package soon. Funny thing is, my package was sent at the same time as the recipients from USA and Italy. All of them received their package within 2 days. While in my case, it only takes around 8 hours for my package to travel from Korea-China- (inclusive of customs clearance in both areas)-Manila, and its been almost a week and i still haven’t reached me. so much for efficiency.

  135. goodpm.
    we would like to ask if someone can give us information what the procedure is and howmutch tax we need to pay if we buy cars or motercycles secondhand in holland(europe)
    we can get those items for a verry small amount compare then buy it in philippines

    hoping for a reaction

    best regards
    bert leffers
    general santos city

    • you need some sort of import permit or license. Price is 15 thousand to be able to do it multiple times. if it’s a one time deal you can get away with it. My broker told me to get a certificate of origin. Get a good broker so you don’t pay a big amount if they get shipped here.

  136. I really hate the custom. Imagine they declared 1,747 php tax for my bag?! WTF! I only bought 1,100 and then I need to pay 1,747??? SHIT!!! I dunnoh what to do now :( Coz I was really surprised when the DHL told me that I need to pay Php 1,747 for the tax and etc. :(

  137. Although understand the needs of the custom workers, I don’t agree with Gimel Soriano’s sentiments, here’s why..

    1. If you think your salary is low, quit and find another job. Nobody, specially the government has the right to get extra income from other people. If a Jollibee worker’s salary isn’t enough, for his/her family and extended families, would he/she take it from the clients?

    2. Quotas only work if the one who imposed it can see that it’s achievable. If custom workers in general couldn’t reach the quota, the quota will be lowered.

    3. Teachers earn the same amount of money, but they impart knowledge compared to you working in the b.custom, to earn extra they would sell something and not take it from the people.

    So lazy government staffs complaining about salary rate is bullshit, they should be dismissed from service. When you work with the government, you should know that it should be almost pro-bono, it is a calling and not a profession to get rich fast.

    NO TO WITHHOLDING TAX! DO NOT LET THE GOVERNMENT SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN.

    • I’m not really opposed to tax. I just want to be taxed correctly. If there are special procedures needed to import items, why not teach first time online buyers.

      • I absolutely agree with that. There’s nothing wrong in getting taxed but there should be consistency in taxing items. Oh I forgot, most of the time these people from the custom are very consistent in doing their dirty business… cause if they aren’t we won’t be discussing this issue anymore which is like a vicious cycle…seems that there is no hope and solution to this problem
        =((

  138. Hi,

    I got a post mail letter just today for my different transaction, the postman gave me letter that I should get the item in pasay, because the custom hold the item, I think it just a casio watch from hongkong that I buy in eBay, what would you think, am I going to pay for the tax and duties again? The watch is just below $50 and free shipping from shipper.

    Please help, this is my first tym.

  139. Hi,

    FYI, 

    How come my dutiable tax becomes php 5,261.21, the value of the cap is only €22.50?

    Sent from My iPad

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “Jessica Cal Wenceslao”
    Date: November 24, 2011 5:30:38 PM GMT+08:00
    To:
    Subject: Pending Shipment – Awb# 795416595312

    Dear Ms Jaravata,
     
    Good day!
    We apologize for the inconvenience that is has caused you but all charges imposed on this shipment are beyond Fedex control.
    Below is the detailed computation of the duties and taxes imposed on your shipment.
     
    FOB 30.10
    Freight 90.39
    Insurance 0.60
    Dutiable Value $ 121.09
    Rate of Exchange 43.448
    Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
    Rate of Duty 0.15
    Customs Duty 789.18

    Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
    Customs Duty 789.18
    Brokerage Fee 700.00
    Customs Documentary Stamp 265.00
    Import Processing Fee 250.00

    Landed Cost 7,265.39
    VAT RATE 0.12
    VAT 871.85

    SUMMARY

    Customs Duty 789
    VAT 872
    Import Processing Fee 250
    TOTAL 1,911
     
    The P315.00 is for the Custom Form and Stamps which is a fixed charges for filing the entry to Custom.
    The breakdown is:
        Stamps       265.00
        Form            40.00
        Notarial         10.00
     
    Kindly see the attached scanned copies of duties and taxes paperworks from Customs for your reference.
     
    Hope this helps.
     
     
    Thank you,
    Jessica Cal – Wenceslao
    FedEx / Airfreight 2100 Inc
    A/R Trace Specialist
    (tel.) 632 8794571
    (fax) 632 8794432
     
    3F Cargohaus Bldg, Brgy Vitalez
    NAIA Complex Paranaque City
    Philippines 1700

      • hi,

        fedex email me it goes…..

        Ma’am Florence,

        Good day!
        Per Philippine Customs law, all imported items whether personal effects, gifts or samples are subject to duties and taxes regardless of the declared value.

        Section 101. Imported Articles Subject to Duty. — All articles, when imported from any foreign country into the Philippines, shall be subject to duty upon each importation, even though previously exported from the Philippines, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Code or in other laws.
        For more information regarding importations, please refer to http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno1937book2title4.html.

        Customs used the declared value of EUR 22.50 or USD 30.10 as the basis of their computation. Plus the freight cost based on IATA (International Air Transporation Association) and 2% insurance (declared value).

        FOB 30.10
        Freight 90.39
        Insurance 0.60
        Dutiable Value $ 121.09
        Rate of Exchange 43.448
        Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21

        Sec. 201. Basis of Dutiable Value. — Whenever an imported article is subject to an ad valorem rate of duty, the duty shall be assessed upon the market value or price at which, at the time of exportation, the same, like or similar article is freely offered for sale in the principal markets of the exporting country for exportation to the Philippines, in the usual wholesale quantities and in the ordinary course of trade (excluding internal excise taxes to be remitted or rebated), plus ordinary expenses prior and incidental to the lading of such article on board the vessel or aircraft at the port of export (including taxes or duties, if any) and freight paid as well as insurance premium paid covering the transportation of such article to the port of entry in the Philippines.

        From the dutiable value in peso, customs used the duty rate of 15%, arriving to Php 789.18 (5,261.21 x 15%).

        A value added tax of 12% is computed. 7,265.39 x 12% = 871.85.

        A fixed import processing fee of Php 250.00 is included in all inbound shipments.

        Here’s the complete breakdown computation from Customs:
        FOB 30.10
        Freight 90.39
        Insurance 0.60
        Dutiable Value $ 121.09
        Rate of Exchange 43.448
        Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
        Rate of Duty 0.15
        Customs Duty 789.18

        Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
        Customs Duty 789.18
        Brokerage Fee 700.00
        Customs Documentary Stamp 265.00
        Import Processing Fee 250.00

        Landed Cost 7,265.39
        VAT RATE 0.12
        VAT 871.85

        SUMMARY

        Customs Duty 789
        VAT 872
        Import Processing Fee 250
        TOTAL 1,911

        Here is final charges billed by Customs office:

        The total billing charges include the fixed customs form and stamps of 315.00
        Stamps 265.00
        Form 40.00
        Notarial 10.00

        Total amount due is Php 2,226.00.

        Hope above info helps and clarify how customs arrived with the final amount.

        Thank you,
        Jessica Cal – Wenceslao
        FedEx / Airfreight 2100 Inc
        A/R Trace Specialist
        (tel.) 632 8794571
        (fax) 632 8794432

        3F Cargohaus Bldg, Brgy Vitalez
        NAIA Complex Paranaque City
        Philippines 1700

        —– Original Message —–
        From: Florence Jaravata
        To: Jessica Cal Wenceslao
        Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 9:38 PM
        Subject: Re: Pending Shipment – Awb# 795416595312

        Hi,

        My package is below $50 how come I pay for duties and tax, as far as I know if your item is below $50 you are exempted to tax and duties.

        Sent from My iPad

        On Nov 24, 2011, at 5:30 PM, “Jessica Cal Wenceslao” wrote:

        Dear Ms Jaravata,

        Good day!
        We apologize for the inconvenience that is has caused you but all charges imposed on this shipment are beyond Fedex control.
        Below is the detailed computation of the duties and taxes imposed on your shipment.

        FOB 30.10
        Freight 90.39
        Insurance 0.60
        Dutiable Value $ 121.09
        Rate of Exchange 43.448
        Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
        Rate of Duty 0.15
        Customs Duty 789.18

        Dutiable Value Php 5,261.21
        Customs Duty 789.18
        Brokerage Fee 700.00
        Customs Documentary Stamp 265.00
        Import Processing Fee 250.00

        Landed Cost 7,265.39
        VAT RATE 0.12
        VAT 871.85

        SUMMARY

        Customs Duty 789
        VAT 872
        Import Processing Fee 250
        TOTAL 1,911

        The P315.00 is for the Custom Form and Stamps which is a fixed charges for filing the entry to Custom.
        The breakdown is:
        Stamps 265.00
        Form 40.00
        Notarial 10.00

        Kindly see the attached scanned copies of duties and taxes paperworks from Customs for your reference.

        Hope this helps.

        Thank you,
        Jessica Cal – Wenceslao
        FedEx / Airfreight 2100 Inc
        A/R Trace Specialist
        (tel.) 632 8794571
        (fax) 632 8794432

        3F Cargohaus Bldg, Brgy Vitalez
        NAIA Complex Paranaque City
        Philippines 1700


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      • I got all cross-eyed and unable to believe that what you buy outside the Philippines is multiplied 2x because of whatever dutiable value you have to pay. I really don’t need to go down and sieve through the details. I mean would you want to?
        This is how it works here. Sadly, there really is no free trade and true online shopping is a far from real here in the Philippines.

      • Hi Zero MD,

        Just today I got my 4 packages, it delivered by postman, i pay per package php 40 each so all in all php160, Thanks God atleast now its not that expensive. The package includes wallet from u.s, watch from Hongkong, clear screen and back cover for my Ipad.

  140. Hi Mr. Zero M.D.

    Thank you for your advice, I talk to the fedex today and they telling me that they will ask the vendor (ferrari) if will gonna shoulder the expense and they will notify me, I hope that they will help me to shoulder the overcharged duties and taxes. I am still waiting for the reply, my Ferrari suppose to be gift for my husband in upcoming Xmas, are still in fedex right now.

  141. Hi,

    I order in Ferrari online and I bought 1cap, it cost €22.50, now, fedex deliver it to my house and said I need to pay php 2,226.00 for tax and duties. How come that tax and duties are more expensive than my purchase order?
    Pls. advice….

    • This is a big hassle for everybody. Customs price it differently which is why people get flustered over how customs do the taxation. You have to complain and show a proof of receipt. Just print the electronic invoice and fax it over fedex. There is a 100% chance it will get rejected and you have to go through the slow and costly process of filing a complaint with the main office of BOC. Sorry kid. Apparently that’s how it goes here in the Philippines. It’s very discouraging to buy online on other countries!

  142. I live in England and i sent a small package to my bird who lives in Cebu. The parcel was fine as it was cleared through Germany and HK and now its been delayed by customs since Friday 18th November for 2 days.

    Its not like there is anything dodgy or valuable in there. 2 soft toys and 200 odd photographs of me backpacking in Asia.

    If these bastards in the customs office want more money to send the parcel on its merry way, they can quite clearly RACK OFF!!

    I’m pissed about this and wont bother sending anything to her anymore as i know the parcel will never arrive. This is the 2nd time for me sending the same parcel, the previous way was the normal postal system.

    I’ll just take a 3 week holiday next year and hand deliver my gifts to her. A pain in the arse, but can’t be bothered with corrupt people in this day and age.

    Pissed of Englishman.

  143. Philippines Customs Rip OFF

    Yes i just ordered a package… 5 head sets.. they are VERY expensive head sets… total order cost $2000.00… so what does customs do… they said the value for 15 head sets is $6000.00… wtf? are you kidding me… what a joke. This country needs to address their customs issues… clearly someone i putting a lot of money in their pocket off of this as it certainly isnt going back into the economy.

    • Customs will think you are selling them here. They will upgrade the price apparently according to their “cheat sheets.” You will get taxed based on the selling price here. Even if it is just your personal collection, it’s actually quite cheaper to buy here than online. You also have to file a complaint with the BOC AFTER you paid your tax. Or you can show them also a printed copy of your online invoice which may have a chance of decreasing your tax albeit a tiny chance.

  144. I’m going to buy 6 pairs of shoes from china online worth $70.00USD. I am going to choose the cheapest courier which is chinapost by sea and the shipping fee would be $20.00USD. It would take 50 to 80 days for me to receive my parcel. I would like to know where am I going to pick up my parcel if it wont be delivered to our doorstep (I’m from Cavite). I also want to know how much would be the customs tax.

  145. What were the items that you bought? That is a relevant piece of information since all computations will be based on the value of your item.

    From what you posted, the computations of duties and taxes and other fees are in accordance to law. The question is how much is your item worth? If I got your post right, you paid USD 51.50 for your item but it was assessed by the BOC as USD 346.00. As notified by email, you may present proof of the amount paid (either purchase order or telegraphic transfer) if you dispute the assessment.

    Everything is then computed based on the assessed value of the goods. May I refer you to the BOC website on the Fundamentals of Computation of Duties and Taxes for Imported Goods: http://customs.gov.ph/taxcomp.php

    It might also be helpful to read the Frequently Asked Questions of the BOC website: http://customs.gov.ph/faqs.php#1.1

    On a more personal note, it is really not advisable to use express couriers for items which you intend to sell since express couriers by themselves are really expensive. Remember that the freight cost is added to the amount that would be the basis for the computation of duties and taxes.

    Before I became the Commissioner of Customs, I also used to order goods online. In my first order, I also had the same shock as you had, but after getting the explanation, I realized that express couriers are not the way to go for an online business. They are only good for businesses or goods that are time sensitive or of high value such that it will still be worth it to include to sell at a mark up price which includes duties and taxes.

    There are other means of ordering and getting your goods into the country at a lower cost. Just not the courier services.

    IF you insist on using courier services, there is one way to cut down on cost, even just a little bit. Do not wait for it to be delivered to you door to door. Try to pick it up on the day it arrives. It is they who charge extra and exorbitant storage fees for your package/cargo, not Customs.

    Finally, as long as everything is receipted, it is legal. What is illegal and therefore a scam is when there are no receipts and the amount is subject to haggling.

    Thank you very much!

  146. I was one of those people who thought of starting an online business by importing stuff and reselling them here. I did some research first and found out about the huge customs duties I might need to pay. So I scrapped that idea. And decided to never buy anything imported online ever. At first I thought the amounts they were asking for was unfair, but after a while I realized that it was for the good of the country so now I’m all for it- as long as it’s lawful and logical.

    Also, as long as all Chinese businessmen here who are importing tons of Chinese products are paying the same amount of taxes we do. Really, if anybody’s hurting our local industries

    Now, I’m planning to make an online purchase from abroad for personal use so I’m doing a bit of research again on what to expect to pay before I actually buy anything. I used to go to Ebay’s forum look up the formula for the computations but somebody made a calculator of it:

    http://triviasofsubstance.blogspot.com/search/label/Calculators

    hope it helps.

  147. paying of customs duties and taxes are lawful.mandated by law. corruption is when you pay something without O.R. under the table. but when does under the table begins? when the importer doesnt want to pay his duties and taxes. when he tries to negotiate the charges.it is when importers doesnt want to follow the law. when importer wants to fool the government and got pissed when caught.

    you can buy the books Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines volumes 1 and 2. also Fundamentals of Computation. these books are self-explanatory. you will find the basis of computation. it might help you understand and lessen your hurt feelings. ask the legislators to change or amend the law.

    as mentioned earlier, tax and duties are used to raise revenue and protect the local industry. motor vehicles abroad are way way cheaper than our local cars. if car importations will be liberalized or become freely importable item, no one will buy our locally made cars. what will happens now to the local car industry?

    there are rules on the methods of valuation. learn the rules and laws first before concluding that customs people are corrupt.

  148. Just a question: what if I buy something that is handmade? Something that cannot be bought in the Philippines. Will it be taxed by 100%-200%?

  149. hi everyone,

    i’m also an online shopper and i’m really addicted with shopping online =). i always seem get away with the customs & duties tax with all the things i bought online and i realize it was because most of the items i bought are of lesser values as in less than 30 dollars including shipping that’s they don’t bother computing for the fees at least that’s what the employee from the las piñas post office said. that was until i bought a phone, of course we all know that no electronic items can escape the customs so they made their computation, the phone was declared by the seller for 100 pounds and 11 pounds for shipping after they made their computations i was being charge for 2200 pesos, so i haggled. i read in ebay forums prior to picking up my package that you can do that but their will be no receipt. so my 2200 pesos turned into 1500 pesos which is ok i guess. compared to being charge for 200%-400% of the actual price i guess my situation was more acceptable. by the way, the custom officer was from las piñas post office and not from the 3 couriers. after that i realize i don’t want to be caught in the same situation again, i have read a lot of experiences from people online telling about how the customs over charge their fees and i just couldn’t help but think that i can also happen to me sooner or later but i won’t stop from shopping online i just need to be smarter than they are. i have learned a few tricks to avoid the custom fees. first is that keep the amount low, it’s the safest way to not get taxed. but if you’re buying bulk items like apparels and accessories from china or hong kong, always contact your seller to lower the price declaration, they are always agreeable to that. i bought several apparels before on china fashion website for 60 dollars inlcuding DHL shipping, i asked the seller to declare the price as low as they can and they did, they placed each item at $2 each piece =). if you have to pick it up in the post office they will ask you for a electronic receipt from paypal, (yes, they’re that smart) so make sure you edit that receipt as well (yes, i did that too. you can find a way to edit it if you want to). next is to find other means of shipping because if you buy a lot of items in bulk or electronic items or branded & signature items, you can’t really escape the custom & duty fees. find a courier company, (a legit one of course unless you want your stuffs to get lost) that does balikbayan box shipping and express air cargo to the philippines. and have your items shipped thru them. recently i bought a lot of stuffs on ebay like branded shoes, perfumes, cosmetics and branded sun glasses, i have them shipped to my mom’s address in queens (that already saved me from international shipping) and she took them to a courier called johnny air also in queens. they charge per lb. express envelope is $7.50 (min 1 lb) and transit time of 5 days, they also express cargo at $5.50 per lb (min 2 lb) and 5 day transit time and regular cargo at $3.50 per lb (min 6 lbs) with 8 day transit time they also have one for highly taxable item and electronic items at $7 per lb and 7 day transit time. all transit time are for manila office pick up but are all inclusive of custom tax. i picked up my items at their buendia, makati branch after 5 days when it was shipped. i if you don’t have any relatives in usa you can still get their service by having all of your online purchases shipped in their address and then they will be the one to send it to you to the philippines but of course you need to contact them first regarding this. you will pay the shipping fees here in the philippines when you pick up your items at their office of your choice, you will receive a call from them once your stuffs has arrived. i hope this helps!

  150. Hi Zero MD,

    I have this going on right now! I’m so worried, it’s my first time to resell items I bought from Chiina. It’s worth USD840 including shipping, now I’m so worried on what they will bill me.

    My problem is I still don’t have the items since they say that the Commercial Invoice is not there. It’s been with the customs office since Friday (Aug. 19). Will my PayPal receipt suffice? Will they charge high for slippers/sandals?

    Really appreciate your comments. Thanks!

    • Almost a thousand dollars worth of goodies! I officially welcome you to the eCommerce Philippines! Call your courier. Ask for the clearance delay and how it is going. Yes, we used the Paypal receipts. I just wish they don’t have stones in those slippers/sandals or that customs will regard them as next to Spartan slippers in value. I wish you the best. Just a tip, don’t shout if it’s too high a custom’s tax. Act like you’ve done it before. Breathe in and no expletives. Just negotiate. If it will be the first time that customs will see your name, relax. You’d probably get through without a tax (some of us did). Let us know what happened. We’d love to hear from you.

  151. hi ZERO MD…

    i read all the comments on your blog…

    i do experience that shitty taxes over the customs…the first one i encounter when i get a USED PALM CENTRO to my cousin which they asked me to pay for a 4,280php…then secondly my cousin sent another a USED laptop for my brother.. ..she declared it as a gift…as i check it on EMS website its already in PASAY…so me and my younger brother rush to PASAY to get it…but i am already aware they will charge me…but not that 100-200% of tax…. they charged me for almost 8,440php for the USED laptop…thats stupid…the laptop is a 4 years old then still just add small amount u can already buy a new one..thats suck…

    and now i am wondering again…how much do i need to pay when my husband send me the USED ipod nano with chocolates and figs bar….:( i just hope CUSTOMS know that the we work hard the money we pay to them… :(

  152. Same problem with all of you. I even presented sales contract from the US Manufacturer. According to DHL if di ms skikda an yung MBA mango voting sa bureau of Customs is to file a payment in protest. Please do not succumb to these crooks. Pay the tax and ask for the receipt but make sure you put paid in protest so you can dispute the tax they levied on you.

    Wag Na kayo g umasa Na aaksyunan Yan ni P-Noy. It would be easier to file your protest and let the Court of Tax Appeals deal with it.

    • So I pay 10,000 for something I bought worth 5,000 in protest. How about the people who don’t have an extra 10k? If they have to find other ways to come up with that money, their storage fee rises. The problem does compound itself.
      It’s easy to say but very hard to comply to.

  153. Lesson learned today:

    * You don’t have to pay import duties & taxes for anything below $50 but a processing fee of Php45

    * Anything higher than $50, be prepared to get taxed 100-200%. This is the law of the land. Go and lobby with your favorite lawmakers to have this removed or amended if you want to lower the taxes for imported products.

    * It’s useless to file a complaint for an item worth $100 or less. I mean, c’mon. Do you really want to pursue a complaint just to have the duties & taxes re-computed? This is okay if you have the luxury of time and you have money to spend on following up your complaint.

    * If you’re into the importing business, better get a good broker to ensure the tax computation is correct and accurate and you pay the correct taxes.

    • Actually that’s the problem, we got taxed irregardless of the price. 2 days ago I talked to a broker (not mine). She told us that what customs are doing is outdated. People should be taxed according to the transaction price not the published price. We have done a lot of transactions and we are always charged based on the published price. Customs keep telling us that they tax based on current market price, which is what published price is about. Why do we need brokers when customs can just do their jobs right the first time?
      If the item imported is marked as gift, that means the worth is essentially zero. Why get taxed on those? It’s lame but we play along because as you pointed out, it’s not worth the hassle of our time and money.

      • In hindsight, the people who crafted this law might have thought some people might abuse the system that’s why these things are in place. For example, if it was transaction-based, the seller can connive with the recipient and lower the transaction price thus lowering the customs duty.

        I think it would make much more sense if the they would base their rate on the impact it would have to the local economy. For example, if the local economy is highly dependent on clothes then imported clothes should be levied higher than, say, electronic items. Another example, if I were to buy an iPad from the U.S. then the levy should be lower than clothes since we don’t have a local product equivalent to the iPad that would get “hurt” if import duties are lowered.

      • FYI, Licensed Customs Broker is a professional individual who has all the knowledge regarding customs clearance. The story that you are stating here is actually your fault, why? because you have engage into importation of goods which are intended for business without even researching what are the steps to undergo. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse to the law. You should know first what things are to be accomplished or secured prior to importation procedure. And again for your info, commercial goods before it’s customs clearance in the philippines, the importer or owner like you needs to have an accreditation from philippine bureau of customs that you are allowed to import commercial goods, as like what you said earlier, these goods are intended for selling. Again this is not a fault of anyone other than YOU.

      • absolutely. I learned that the hard way through this little experience 1 year ago. Hey nobody told us. We have no background, and nobody seems to be helping and pointing at the right direction. Nobody told us that you can’t import without a license. Sheesh. If somebody did, we wouldn’t have spent all those pesos under the table. So Mr Ruben would you like to elucidate your point and tell all ecommerce wannabe’s how it is to import products in the Philippines? Of course you wouldn’t. You’re also busy pointing that little finger back at me. I got a friend from cargo companies who told us all the right directions; we’ve been doing it for a year. Also FYI, licensed customs brokers did not tell us all about why we have import duties and how it is computed. They did not tell us why we need a certificate of origin from the seller. THEY DID NOT TELL US WHY THE TAX WE HAVE TO PAY FOR FAKE JEWELRIES IS UPGRADED INSTEAD OF ZERO (as indicated in their books which I happen to see [10% max only if without COO]). So if they are so knowledgeable, why were they not professional enough to tell ALL OF US. They keep giving us scare tactics and whispered under the table deals instead of teaching first time importers. Actually, individuals are allowed to import one time without the proper accreditation from the BOC (a first and last time rule as I understand).

  154. This is shitty. This is really getting on my nerves, Can’t noy noy do something about this? senate? congress? anyone? IT and ecommerce is the way to go on this computer age but WTF.

    Can they tax an Item Marked as GIFT? I was taxed twice on two separate items – China touch screen tablet. I wanted to sell this ones and make a business selling this gadget stuff. But This shitty called customs is really annoying and fissing me off. I am really a calm person naturally and never say bad words but this is an exemption. Mga PI kayo customs – mga BUWAYA – Nilalapa nyo mga kapwa nyo Pilipino. Sorry I really had to flush that out on my system…. But this is reality. I hope noy noy like what he promised that he clean this Bastards and put them to JAIL.

    • Ever since my dad was head of the import division in the DTI way back in the Marcos era, this has been a real problem to startups. He told me that it’s the Philippines’ way of strengthening local business by taxing imports and promoting exports. Most big businesses create loopholes in this tax system by importing raw materials and assembling and marketing them here in the country. That’s why you see most of your shampoos as made in Mandaluyong or somewhere else and that they cost less than Imported goods. It’s very hard to start small here in the Philippines. The problem is we small businesses have no big capital or credit to start big. We don’t have that capability or technical know-how to import raw and process them.
      The tax is too high. They should just tax us on the amount we bought them so we can rake some profits and eventually grow. I am sorry but I can offer you very little advice. My partner and I have tried doing the same thing you did or haven’t yet done. We told our suppliers to mark them as GIFT, personal belongings, change the dollar amounts to indian rupees, and have the receipts posted on the side of the package. It’s no use. They inspect your package, count them, put a price tag as if you bought them at your local mall, tax you, and duct tape the hell out of the box.
      There is by the way a ‘chinese’ way of importing items, you should ask them. I don’t like to go into details as I may be wrong. But haven’t you noticed that there is very little difference on the online price and the price they sell those Chinese tablet PCs in divisoria? Just a penny for your toughts jayson.

  155. this blog i really helpful…

    im planning to try an online business that caters hair accessories … “small time” business lng muna but i haven’t think about this taxes thing… i just thought after paying the supplier from china, eh yun na yun… meron a pla itong mga taxes etc… OMJ!!! basing it on the posts here, im hesitant to try that small online business that im thinking…

    so far whats the best and cheapest courrier DHL? UPS? depex? or anything else?

    also, if there are kind CUSTOM BROKERs who can help us and who’s reading this… if you can post ur contacts so we can ask help na hindi kami ma over ng taX… hehe…

    THANK YOU =)!!!

  156. let’s say i purchased a $5 or a $10 item online and the shipping is free, will i still be charged for customs tax whatever the item is?

    • IF you buy something weird like battery of cellphone case and if you use registered mail you will only pay 45 pesos which you will pay via Phil Post nearest you.

      But if that $10 item is a bag or a shirt they will charge you a fix rate of atleast 600+, that is based on my experience. I usually buy things on the internet.

      If you want a big ticket item, still use registerd mail. The package will end up on your local philpost office where there is a single custom officer. You can haggle with him/her to “lower” you tax. IF you use FEDEX or DHL you will ba taxed heavily because the customs officer there are in “groups”. Hati hati pa sila so for sure they will charge you as high as possible.

  157. well it’s a one-time transaction, but I might shop again if things turn out ok. I’m ordering from taobao through an agent.

    just made my order, and the agent just had it shipped tonight. it was supposed to be through EMS, but they gratuitously upgraded it to UPS due to a “history of tracking issues to your country using EMS”. I think we all know what that means :P

  158. Hi. Like many of the people reading this blog, I am planning on making a purchase online. I acknowledge the reality that I WILL have to pay custom fees in the end. What I’d like to know is if my understanding is correct in saying that no matter the means of delivery, i.e. whether it be DHL, Fedex, etc, the item won’t be delivered to my doorstep? I still have to go to Pasay and pay the fees personally?

    • Nope. It just happened to us because we complained. We were being charged exorbitantly. DHL was not cooperative at that time and we wanted to talk to people in charge. FedEx lets you pay at your nearest FedEx station if you have a high fee. Other, ahem, lets you pay over the counter at their personal bank accounts. I suggest you get a broker if you have a lot of items and if you’ll be shipping frequently. If its a one-time only eBay thing, just try not to be angry (especially if you buy electronics).

  159. Hello I just want to express myself saying how corrupted is and still will be Customs in the Philippines I bought something on-line and the price it was 5 dollars and the hipping charge it was 25 dollars that it was split it with the seller and now DHL came to my house with a bill of 1,339.60 pesos for 5 dollars?? I can not believe this I when to Customs before to claim a package that it was 51 dollars and 50 dollars shipping and they charge me 1,197.00 pesos and DHL wants to charge 1,339.60 for 5 dollars cost? and 25 dollars shipping? c’mon DHL they said it is Customs really??? I dont believed that Customs is charging that big amount of money of course DHL has agreement with DHL that why they over charge…. thats why Philippines are where it is because when Philippinos go abroad they are treated so bad… I hope tyou guys improved… this is a robbery!!!! with authority!!!!!…..

    Edgard

  160. ZeroMD,

    Greetings

    I am writing you from the States, I came across your site just today. I need some help or suggestions.

    I have a low end product that I want to have assembled in Olongapo. It is my hope to have this done by those whose needs are the greatestest. I hope to give them an honest income and in return I will have a low cost overhead to my product. It is very light piece assembly work. I want to help as many as I can receive some source of income.

    Do you have any experiences with Customs as far as things being shipped out of the Phillipines.. That is specifically from Subic Free port Zone to the USA.

    My email is scopeits@yahoo.com

    ps. if any others can email me with their experiences good or bad in regards to EXPORTING FROM SUBIC BAY to the USA, Please write..

    Thank you, and God bless all those who want to make the world a better place through kindness and Love !

    Stephen H.

  161. Hello Zero MD, customs is a big wall for imports not profits…if you go for export then by all means the customs will support you. Importing products is another way of fueling colonial mentality. And to whoever that person whose so pissed at customs…Its a clear sign of intellectual bankruptcy. there are other ways to manifest Catharsis constructive ways…you should delete that post…filled with profane language without even an explanation on what caused his rage… Unjust Vexation is punishable by Law.

    • Small sellers can’t compete with big industries because of their purchasing power and their ability to lower their prices despite a big overhead. They can import large amounts of high end products such as iPads or other electronics not currently produced here and sell them with low margins but with an overall big profit. Small online businesses like us can’t compete with that. We look for untapped niches (the long tail according to Friedman) and start there. Unfortunately, our big problem is we have to accept imports are taxxed. At 26% of the supplier’s price, we can live with that Patrick. But the tax imposed on the product is, according to customs, the current price on the retail market. If a shop sells at 400% markup and everybody else does the same, we end up being taxed 100-200% of the price we bought them at the suppliers abroad. We either end up looking for other niches or giving up ecommerce entirely.

      As for the really uneducated post I approved earlier, I was just amused at the guy. Unjust vexation is punishable by law, unfortunately your criminal left a fake yahoo mail: hilwewe@yahoo.com and an IP address of 119.160.156.36. It’s for you if you want to decide to pursue a subpoena an anonymous online person.

      We’re the diplomats trying to create a forum and this guy shows up and throws fist in the air without even trying to listen. It’s just amusing that single-sided narrow-minded people like that do exist. It’s been a year or more since I placed this post and comments continue to pop up like mushrooms. By the way, I’ve already solved my problem with customs and I’m still dealing with them on a monthly basis. I marked up prices and I am continuing my business. Ecommerce is barely surviving in the Philippines. Exporting products is currently new to me. Expect me to come to trade shows this year. I am looking for things to export.

      • Greetings Zero MD,

        Gimel is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet which repents zeal given to me by my superior when I was still a novitiate of the Jesuits. (now you know who I am)

        Christus Vincit, Christus Reignat, Christus Imperat.

    • Moral of this reply is “Buy Local!!”. Let’s give a chance to our countrymen who could actually make most of these Chinese items.

    • FUCK YOU! is the philippines manufacturing a DSLR? a car? an emerald jewelry? NO!!! so FUCK YOU… I have to buy it outside the country!

      • SERIOUSLY?? Do you know the difference of prices and quality when you bought something from ORIGINAL manufacturers ? It would have been the best deal if not for the BLOODY taxes YOUR SO CALLED countrymen laid on every damn piece of product they can put a tax on!!

  162. hi!

    i was really wondering how much would customs charge me for my purchases in china thats why I bumped into this blog. I am selling online and im really new in importing stuffs. I purchased 156 GAP pajama sets for US $701.45 plus shipping fee of US $30.92 thru UPS. Please help! Im thinking of not going thru with the transaction if il be charged for 200% of my total based on what I read here. Can someone give me an estimate on how much would I pay at customs? :( Thanks!

    • I’m not from customs but from what I got it goes like this: Since you’re dealing with GAP pajama sets, they will charge you taxes based on the max retail price here in the Philippines, not your supplier price. The tax is somewhere between 25 to 30%. So if you got those sets via supplier price and they are worth 30% of the current retail price here in the Phil, you will get charged 100% because they will charge 30% of the retail price. Gets? Welcome to eCommerce Pilipinas, where customs is a big wall to profits.

  163. PUTANG INA NIO MGA TAGA CUSTOMS KAYOP WALA KAYONG MGA KWENTA! MGA BUWAYA PUTA KAYO MAG SIMATAY NA KAYONG LAHAT SIRAULO! MGA MAGNANAKAW!

  164. I think the difficulty is the inconsistency. If we all new that ALL products in a certain category will be charged accordingly at least everyone can make a better business decision. This is important for business and especially for small entrepreneurs where budgets are tight and cash flow needs to be managed properly.

    I understand the plight of a government employee but we’re all trying to make a decent living and I too have a family to feed. Small entrepreneurs should not be asked to play Russian roulette and the government should encourage and help and not just pay lip service for small businesses to flourish as a way out of poverty (and not other stupid means like pop control).

    Kudos to those who follow all requirements. And to those who don’t, I can’t blame you either.

    jap

  165. oh my! i keep ordering online and customs always over charges me..now im not sure what courier to pick.. will depex be okay?

    • Hi Mia! I’ve tries EMS, DHL and DPEX and so far sa DPEX I wasn’t taxed yet and I hope this continues. With EMS if the items are over 6pcs they tax it talaga, 100% or even 200% of what the items are really worth. Try mo DPEX, its a bit expensive than DHL but just imagine the tax you’ll be able to save. Good luck girl! :)

      • Hi Joy! How many items did you ship via DPEX? I was going to have around 30-40 items shipped via DPEX but was advised by the wholesaler that I should choose EMS, instead? Huh.

        I’m not sure why but they seem to think we’ll not be taxed much through EMS. Anyway, I don’t believe in their suggestion. In that note, may I know how many items you’ve shipped through DPEX without incurring taxes? I’m planning to break down my items by batches. Maybe then they will make it through.

      • helu Omelajoy,,,ilang items po ung order nyu using DPEX na walang tax?i was planning to use DPEX too…tnx..

      • Hi. I would like to use DEPEX also. Upon checking, TOLL EXPRESS na yung name or debrand na sila. Same pa din po ba? Plan yo use them but my supplier don’t offer them. Plan to have an account and my parcel will be pick-up from my supplier.

  166. Hi Zero MD, I just started with my online business last month and I am planning to buy US branded cosmetics in Ebay on thursday. but because of the duties and taxes that I am about to face regarding importation, I do not know exactly what courier service to use. I am in need of a recommendation from someone with experience in importing goods, then I found you blog. I hope you could help me with this. Thank you.

    Btw, I do not want to use EMS anymore, I purchased items from China and it’s been 3 days since it was held in customs. I haven’t receive any notice from them as well. What should I do? I am from pampanga by the way.

    • You have to call EMS. Ask about the delay (“clearance delay”). You will be paying tax and import duties. Please beware, they will tax you based on the CURRENT BRAND NEW RETAIL PRICE in the Philippines NOT THE SUPPLIER PRICE. If I were you starting a business from the states, I would really pick Balikbayan Box services. No tax. It doesn’t pass customs. So it is of no use to bargain at eBay if you will not be get taxed CORRECTLY. I suggest you mail it to a family member or friend there at the US and have him/her send you a Balikbayan Box. wait for your box to arrive. It’s longer but cheaper. I cannot guarantee safety but its the only way you can avoid taxes. Good luck with your ecommerce business.

  167. Hey there. This post has been very helpful. My fiance that lives in the US is going to send me a gift through FedEx. I just want to know if I’ll have to pay any fees for RECEIVING A GIFT. He spent over a hundred dollars on those gift items and I do not have 200% of that amount. I’m really worried because I really want to get those gifts. Those are for our anniversary. Please help. Thanks.

    • It doesn’t have to be 200%. I think he has to declare the items there and tell Fedex the cost. He’ll have to fax you the receipt in order for you to file a complaint whenever the package comes to the Philippines. The correct tax is supposed to be not more than 20% of the amount plus the charges. You can contest it with FedEx later if it is too high than expected.

  168. Hi Zero MD/Gimel,

    Please give me your inputs about my situation. My employer in UK sent me a laptop that I can use while working as his virtual PA. It’s a used machine and shipped via DHL . It’s on its first day of clearance delay in Manila right now and when I contacted DHL, I was transferred to another guy (he confirmed he represents DHL) who starts quoting me about the tax that I need to pay. He says that the sender indicated a GBP2,000 value on the laptop (true, for insurance purposes) and that I have to pay about Php18,000 for tax alone based on this value. I told him that the item was not sold to me and that it is just being lent for work purposes and that Php18,000 is huge because I did not pay for that unit in the first place – I coudln’t even afford to buy my own computer locally. The DHL guy said he will put this under the “gift/used” category but that he CAN’T guarantee that the tax will be lowered. Further, he will send me an affidavit that I should approve of in order for them to release the package (I still don’t know if they’ll deliver it to my doorstep afterwards).

    You mentioned that once it is declared as a used item or a gift, no charges or taxes should be paid. What do I need to tell the DHL guy to make him waive it? I’m afraid he’ll twist my arm just to pay for something I didn’t not buy or order – it’s just being lent to me. My boss is not willing to pay the tax and if I can’t afford to buy a computer, how can I even afford that Php18,000??? I hope you can help me.

    • This is exactly my point, I got taxxed the same amount as I paid for it online. I also don’t have that kind of amount just lying around. It’s absurd. Every day, the custom will be charging you storage and brokerage fees until you pay for it.

      • By the way, you’re not alone. The government wants you to pay for it and file the necessary complaints. If you ask me, my advice is, go to the DHL office at the airport. You will be told to wait until 5pm so it’s no use if you go early. Plead your case at the highest Customs officer there and tell your boss next time to hand carry the damn thing next time. It turns to gold once it arrives in the Customs office. Door to door is not a 100% reality here in the Philippines.

      • Aaaargh! This is so frustrating. I got an affidavit from this DHL broker guy and it states that contents in the package are personal items blah blah blah – true – but the last statment says “That I am executing this affidavit to comply with the requirements of the tax, in order that the assessment may be properly made, considering the value thereof; Further affiant Sayeth Naught.”.

        When I clarified the last statement, he said it’s only so that the customs will “consider” putting it under the used/gift category. What? To support this, he sends me a copy of Article 105 which repeatedly says that conditionally-free importations only include items that amount to Php10,000 – this means that the laptop (which is declared at GBP2,000 value!) will still be subject to tax. The guy is just getting me to sign an affidavit – that’s my gut feel.

        Zero MD, what was your experience in appealing with the Customs Officer? My boss is willing to send a letter confirming that the laptop is just being lent to me but I don’t know if that will help. Did they reduce the tax?

      • There is a spectacular part 2 to my story, read it here: http://zeromd.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/200-customs-tax-part-2/ It was basically hilarious but they still taxed us at about the same value I bought the items. That’s a 100%. Customs value your item as if it was brand new. Do not talk with DHL. I repeat, Do not Talk to the DHL representative. They can’t do squat. Go to the Customs office at the other side of the DHL airport branch. They are the ones you have to bargain with. Tell them the software is broken and it is basically worthless (or some other stuff you can come up with). If they won’t listen, go higher. As my dad pointed out, do not shout, be pleasing but aggressive. Half tiger, half chihuahua. If all else fails, the Gimel solution will prevail then: Pay under protest. Find the reply thread from Gimel soriano in this post.

  169. Hi there. Thanks doc for starting this thread on importation duties and courier services. Two questions that I wanted to ask you and our resident broker turned lawyer:

    1.) I bought an item abroad, now why are there extra freight and insurance charges included in the dutiable cost? I only paid for the item and shipping (door to door) and did not ask for insurance. Its like paying the 30% mark-up price for the item I did not buy.
    2.) Is brokerage fee really necessary? For an item so cheap and small, how come I am being charged a whopping 700 pesos for a service so routinary that can be done by almost everyone. Plus I did not seek for their brokerage service, so why charge me?
    3.) What are these after-taxation charges: Duty handling fee and informal entry declaration?

    Regards,
    Noy-fee

    • I’m not really an expert on this subject as I was surprised myself. There are a lot of fees involved when you send something through the airport. This explains most of the fees you are inquiring. It’s mostly dependent on the size of the package and customs hold them for a certain amount of time until they inspect the contents of your package. Through this thread I was able to learn that if someone sent you a package from anywhere in the world, it is considered SOLD to you. They will then tax you DEPENDING ON THE CURRENT PRICE in the Philippine market. So it doesn’t matter if its a donation, a second hand item, or brand new. They will value it depending on their PRICE TABLES (which you are not allowed to see). Once its in the airport, they act as your brokers, hence the fee and you pay for the storage, also hence the fee. According to our friendly government blogger, this is required by law to DETER US FROM BUYING OUTSIDE THE PHILIPPINES. You got it easy. 30% is low. One blogger here got taxed for Red Cross Donated Medicines. Somebody got taxed 400% for Japanese Noodles. Sadly, the solution from customs is apparently to PAY UNDER PROTEST and file complaints accordingly.

      A relatively slow solution for you is to send your items to a relative abroad. He/She will then send it to you via Balikbayan Box. There is a 1 month waiting period. It’s hard to hire a broker in your case. You can also try ebay.com.ph.

      • Ahemmm I’m not a broker turned Lawyer….I’m a customs operations officer promoted to customs lawyer.

  170. That’s right ZeroMD! someone from the government is reading this thread. If I may I would like to present a perspective on the matter. 1) An ordinary customs officer (like the one’s at the post office) Examiner with Salary Grade 16 or 16k / mo less withholding tax (income) less GSIS, Philhealth, Pagibig, Provident Fund, Union Dues ( not to mention if they have a pending loan to settle – less that too) so it leaves the poor guy with roughly 10k. If the guy is married with children or worst has an illness that requires medication to be maintained. Then no doubt customs officers are in a tight spot and can rely on their salary alone. 2) Lateral Attrition Law requires that all Customs Officers should meet their respective Revenue Collection Target or Quota or else he/she will be dismissed from the service – added pressure to impose tax even at the post office. 3) Proudly Philippine Made and Local Industry Issue… whatever it is you are claiming its origin is still outside the country thus its classified as an Import as opposed to products made here or imported by companies which pays duties and taxes for such kind of product, item or gift. You don’t hear people complaining about buying gadgets like IPhones or IPads from an Apple Store in a Mall no matter how expensive it is considering the price is tax inclusive yet they lash out on the poor customs officer at the post office when they are charged on their gadgets bought online. Part of my work is to investigate customs and yes we do police our ranks…I have a soft sentiment on customs officers at the post office. I even had a complaint coming from the office of PiNoy a certain claimant at the post office questioning the legality of the tax imposed and wants the customs officer to be dismissed outright because of a Victoria’s Secret Undergarments.(the officer has been in the service for 18 years, head of the family and near retirement..come on give these guys a break!!!. I have yet to investigate the real culprits on how Ghost Rider’s Motor Cycle was able to be smuggled in the Philippines. The customs service at the post office contributes about 15million in tax revenues, they’re doing their job…some of them may have an attitude problem or so but still they’re doing their job despite all the things that are being hurled at them on a daily basis. again if you’re serious and legalistic then PAY UNDER PROTEST…. affiant sayeth none Bow

    • We have to pay our government employees more. I agree. But we should hire disproportionately less. Most government offices I’ve been to are so obviously being deliberately inefficient. What this means are more incompetent and underpaid people. There should be less people, paid at their equivalent in the private sector (or more!), but demanded more from.

      It’s not the heroism of our public employees that I question. It’s that why do we need them to be heroic? Why create a situation where they need to be tested regarding their honesty? Would you pay a normal employee the minimum wage if you ask him to be your treasurer? No, you pay him a treasurer’s wage, enough that he doesn’t even get tempted.

      We don’t consider normal private employees heroic, cause we pay them well and expect them to do their job. If they don’t they get fired.

    • my friend send me a package from the us and it contains 1 used laptop,1 used cellphone,3 watches, 1 game gadget for kids,a remote control car and some food stuff..do i need to pay taxes for them before i pick it up? but before my friend send that package..they said there that that package will deliver into my house..so does it mean that those people in the us who accept the package to deliver in the philippines are not telling the truth? why they dont even informed the person who will sending packages that when it arrives in the philippines, the receipient will pay taxes before they receive it?

    • I’m surprised I didn’t see the “oh, the poor government official” sooner Gimel. Yes, that poor poor government official has it so bad. I mean, that poor government official is basically starving and living on the streets.

      Yes, let’s blame the citizens for the corruption and outright fraud committed by their government….

      You are a prime example of what’s wrong with this country.

    • Alam mo sa lahat ng pinagsasabi mo, ipinagpipilitan mo na maganda yung systema ntin.. wag ka nang maging bulag… alam mo kng ano ang ngyayari sa customs… wala nmng mgrereklamo sa taxes kng tama lng ang pagppatupad at kng mapupunta talaga sa dapat na kalagyan… ang ipingtataka k lang, pnu ba ang ginagawa nilang pag compute sa halaga ng imported goods? ibig sabihin binubuksan nila yung mga bagahe… at mas lalong nagiging delikado na pag my ngustuhan sila, bka ibulsa na nila….. kng ganito ang systema ng pagpataw natin ng buwis, abay hold upan na ito… yun nga lang prang legal ang dating… sana matingnan nmn ito ng gobyerno…ayusin nila ito, kawawa nmn yun mga OFW na ngpapadala pra sa knilang pamilya dto, tpos gnun kalaki ang sisingilin.. hayst…. its always more fun n the philippines!!! kasi prati talagang nkakatawa mga ginagawa ntin!!!!

    • ” If I may I would like to present a perspective on the matter. 1) An ordinary customs officer (like the one’s at the post office) Examiner with Salary Grade 16 or 16k / mo less withholding tax (income) less GSIS, Philhealth, Pagibig, Provident Fund, Union Dues ( not to mention if they have a pending loan to settle – less that too) so it leaves the poor guy with roughly 10k.”

      Oh wow, you heard it first here folks. Having only 10,000 pesos in salary, which is bullshit considering dues in Philhealth, Pagibig, Provident Funds never amount to 6,000 and there are no Union Dues when you’re a government employee considering there are NO Union organizations in the first place is grounds for corruption. You are part of the problem Mr. Soriano. I had high hopes that a future lawyer like you would uphold the law for good instead of evil but it’s unfortunate that you contribute to the problem. People like you make me sick. While I have never personally been scammed, I lend my heart out to my fellow man who have to experience the same inane hogwash that you spout.

      “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” –Proverbs 8:13

      “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor EXTORTIONERS, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.” –Corinthians 6:9-11

      If hell exists, I do hope people like you are sent there.

    • Everything has to do with your profit margin. Nagkataun lang ito at iba pang mga instances sa pagangkat ku ng items from other countries na ganto ginagawa ng customs. You need a man inside. There are brokers who posted their email on this thread. Feel free to contact them. Don’t be disheartened. Start a business. “The World is Flat” according to Thomas Friedman. This means that you have the same chance as the giants of the economy because of the net.

  171. hi all

    my experience with custom taxes were never consistent, which then surmounts to being irritating only because customs people were never really honest (you can see it in their eyes) and you can bribe them. sorry but that’s the honest truth.

    the first time i bought items from amazon.com (worth php2,000) and shipped through local post, which i had to pick up at the QC post office, i had to pay about php35 only for processing fee. the 2nd time, i paid nothing. the 3rd time i purchased from amazon.com worth php5,000 (5pcs of shirts) and shipped the same way, the customs at the post office taxed me for around 1,700. the computation was dubious and i expected the inevitable milking, so i tried to feign ignorance of the process and told them 1,700 might be too high for taxes. the people at the counter then asked me how much i was willing to pay! haha. i told them i only had around 700 with me (i actually had more) and they said they were fine with it. so i handed over my 700 and went my way. i then tried fedex for around php 2,500 worth of underwear from australia and customs charged me 100% of taxes! naging diamante bigla ang worth ng undies ko. crazy.

    i hope somebody would comb through the current situation and see how to inform people, improve customs and importation taxes and change the system. i dont like being told that i can get lower tax charges if i know some broker or have contacts in the system. gaguhan? i understand there is a law and that taxes are ever present. if only there wasnt so much bullshit in the computation and the appraisal (only because 100% of taxes is really exorbitant) and how these customs people deal with us, then we wouldnt feel so bad paying our taxes even if it is twice or thrice the amount of our purchased items! honesty begets honesty.

    • Somebody from the government is reading ur post. Ain’t that right Gimmel? My post just turned one year old and its still generating bad vibes. Makakarma din tong mga nangungupit. They’re just very hungry. I just learned some aren’t just from customs. Gumagamit din ng mga taga parcel para may kahati. If they think you’re selling the stuff from the US, they want a piece of your pie.

      • oh, i do hope the government is reading this. and maybe we can start hoping that blogging things and raising our concerns on public forums online could generate enough willpower to make the government work for the people and not against them.

  172. Tax is the Life Blood of Government… thus any tax measure necessarily is construed to in favor of the state. The citizens of other nations like the US and EU doesn’t complain about Tax even if they have a higher tax rate than ours but they do complain about the services rendered by their governments.

    • I guess you’re right. If the Philippines looked like Sweden none of us would complain about our taxes. But it doesn’t look like Sweden. So we complain.

    • I’m sorry but you are completely ignorant. US citizens complain about taxes ALL of the time. Why do you think our presidents base portions of their campaigns around lowering taxes?

      I know, I know… you’re a typical “know it all” and want to make people believe you actually know it all but you are so full of it. I’m surprised no one else has called you out on it yet… Then again, in the Philippines all you have to do is make something sound legit, make it sound complicated and technical, and people will believe the BS.

      Furthermore, no one here is complaining about paying taxes… and by taxes I mean the actual tax percentages that are written in black and white as part of your law. People here are complaining about being SCAMMED by your government officials. There is a difference between taxation and outright fraud. And what your government officials are doing is committing fraud. No matter how hard you try to make the whole process of customs tax sound difficult and technical.

      Comparing the Philippines customs process to the US/EU is laughable at best. There is a HUGE difference between the processes of the Philippines and the US/EU… that difference is that in the US/EU the customs officials are not making up the fees as they go along. The US/EU actually follow their countries laws, and EVERYTHING is documented. In the Philippines, 99% of the time your government officials make up the law as they go, including the laws regarding customs taxes/duties.

      And for you to sit here and pretend to act otherwise really shows the state of the Philippines and why the country will never truly advance. The Philippine government essentially teaches it’s people that being greedy and scamming/defrauding people is ok because there isn’t a government official in the Philippines that doesn’t do it every single day.

      And until something changes (which, let’s be honest, it never will) the Philippines will continue to be held in the same regard as countries like Nigeria when it comes to the topic of corruption and fraud.

      FACT: Your ENTIRE government is corrupt. Every single one of your government officials are defrauding their citizens on a daily basis. Yes Gimel, even you.

      The number 1 problem though is that the Filipino people are non confrontational by nature. So when a government official (or anyone with any form of authority for that matter) tells them something, they basically just say “oo po” and accept the bullshit. And until the people have had enough, the government is going to keep scamming you every single day.

      • I’m afraid you’re right. As long as people keep accepting the BS from government officials, nothing will change. And the way it looks now, I can’t see anything changing in the immediate future. All this customs stupidity is holding the Philippines back. When I was living in London, I was ordering things from around the world *all the time* – these were not useless BS like jewellery and fancy cellphones, but various small components used to experiment and create useful tools. Here in the Philippines, getting these items, which often originate from China – just a quick flight away – will take forever to get here and be taxed stupidly, but the worst part is not the tax, it’s all the ridiculous fees with creative names. These are added without regard to the value of the item, and practically excludes the possibility of ordering small quantities of low priced items. Imagine ordering something valued at $1, with postage of another $1… Just tiny bits you need to make things work, but you can’t get here in the Philippines.
        In EU they have some kind of lower limit on individual packages received from abroad. If the declared value is below that, the won’t even bother to tax it – not customs tax, no customs fees, no vat. Because the people there used their brains when they designed the system, they realized that it just wasn’t worth the trouble to nitpick on tiny amounts – they just send them straight to the recipient. As for the exact limit, I’m not sure, but I’ve ordered things valued maybe £40-50 without having to pay anything (except the price of the item obviously).
        Imagine how many customs officer salaries could be saved if all packages with a value less than, say, P5000 was to go straight top the recipient, not even be considered by customs. They could probably reduce the stupid EVAT by half and still have money to save!
        Not to mention the totally useless and utterly ridiculous service of a “customs broker” – if the system is so messed up that you need one of those, then change the system, don’t just add more cost and complexity! Yes, I know, customs brokers will probably not agree on them being useless, but if you sit back and think thoroughly, don’t you think there are better things you could spend your time on than haggling with corrupt customs officers? I mean, if you’re a successful broker, you probably both have brains and people skills – really, why are you wasting your time on this crap? Go create something!
        Then, on everything above that minimum threshold of P5000, it should be illegal for anyone, private of government, to charge anything but a fixed percentage of the declared value of the goods, and that percentage should be clearly listed, available online and in every post office, customs office, etc., for everyone to see. Sure, all the people involved in the corruption, eh, I mean business, today would complain, but sorry guys, all those other costs are just “cost of doing business”. When you buy a bunch of bananas in palenque, you’re not charged storage and handling fees, even though you *know* they have to both store and handle them. That cost is part of the margin (which is a percentage of the value) they put on top of the price they paid for the bananas at wholesale.
        I don’t care if you spend half an hour writing satirical calculations by hand – I really don’t! And I’m certainly not prepared to pay for it. The cost of handling those calculations, and storage of the parcels while you do them is to be covered by the actual customs collected (which is a percentage of the value). If for some reason you spend more money collecting customs than the actual tax you collect, then you have to rationalize. With the savings from my minimum amount suggestion, maybe they could get some computers and hire some of the very excellent programmers here in the Philippines to write them a system, then they can get 75% of the people who are left to do more productive work – like auditing and prosecuting those filthy politicians!

    • Gimel soriano. People in US, EU, Japan etc. do pay more taxes, but they also get something in return (e.g. Jobs and a good living environment). I have also received packages when I was in the US, and have also received packages here in Japan (currently in Japan). Not once did I have to pay for any taxes nor had to go to the post office to pick up MY package. It was always delivered right in front of my door. Maybe you should think before you compare. Just because Filipinos live/work in another country that doesn’t mean they have more money. Most of the time OFWs are not treated as equals, therefor most Filipinos get paid less and are suffering. I didn’t grow up in the Philippines and I’m glad I didn’t!

  173. (Principles of Law) Taxation is the Rule, Exemption is the exemption. those who are claiming for exemption has the burden of proof to substantiate such claim… the same is applied for a lesser tax.
    All complaints concerning tax measures are only actionable upon payment under protest. (Bow)

  174. Hi, I’ve had the same experience as you from customs officials at Pasay. I was frustrated when I found out I was going to pay 200+% tax for 100pcs. goods I bought from China. But after reviewing their computations and asking my mom’s broker/accountant friend about it, I found out that what they are charging is right and not conjured from greedy pockets.

    First is that goods at commercial quantities have a different system of taxation especially for businesses without license. If your business is licensed, you will pay less tax the bigger the quantity you order. You need an importing permit for this. This is done to protect local business since ordering goods without appropriate permits and taxes is akin to smuggling. Second, appraisal of value of goods is based on Philippine selling price and not abroad. . This is for people who have declared values much lower than actual. Better to buy here and support our economy than overseas.

    I can recommend to those who order online A) Order goods below commercial qty. (less than 10-12).
    B) Bring your online receipt when you claim your package to avoid “haggling” with customs official.
    C) Know the tax code of the item you are ordering to ensure that appropriate tax percentage is computed (this one is hard because you will need the help of a broker).
    D) Be nice to the people there and you will be treated nicely! The lady officials people call hags and vultures are hardworking public servants. I’ve seen them make computations all day and making copies of it all written by hand. No computers and printers. They just need to be talked to politely and they will even help you save on taxes without under the table dealings.

    2 more tips: have you package delivered by registered mail not EMS. Transit will depend on how efficient your local post office is at sending out notice cards but you get the convenience of not going to Pasay.

    Here is a helpful site/blog: http://customslittlehelper.blogspot.com/

    From,
    An experienced online shopper
    No way connected to Philippine Customs/Philpost

    • Regarding D)

      The handwriting thing is done on purpose to make it seem like they are essential to the system. If they had computers and printers, it would be more cost effective and efficient (i.e. some of them would lose their job), but that isn’t really their goal. They don’t want to be good at what they do.

      That’s corruption. Deliberately trying to be inefficient costs us money.

  175. Hi i’m new to this blog, after reading all the comments, i’m just wondering if there is someone who can actually take all these concerns (curruption/scums) to the top autority, a way in reporting/investigating the so call tariff/taxes/duties and thier cumputation/calculation. I have the same experience and am looking for an answer, like you guys have been ripped off. I sent a small package 5kls via EMS to my family in Masbate City, we paid $89.00 Australian dollars equivalent to 4,005 pesos. This package containing vitamins and minerals for my mum and my sick brother who just been diagnosed with TV and diabitis. My niece went to the PO in Masbate to see if the parcel had arrive. To her surprice, she was asked to pay 2,488 pesos and when she question them why she has to pay so much money, she was then given a form indicating the amount that she had to pay to collect the parcel. She was told that the charges were for customs collect. What is customs collect i dont understand what it means! My niece was shock at the charge of 2,488 pesos she was very upset and left the PO without the parcel, to my family that is a lot of money and they don’t have that money. Im thinking about approaching the red cross here in Australia and see if they can help. inside the parcel was a written instruction how to take the vitamins plus a withdrawal slip of 6,000 pesos sealed in an envelop to help my brother for his treatment. I dont know what else to say but I’m agry and annoyed, I quest curruption is everywhere. I’m just hoping that someone out there can help us expose those scummers!!!

    • lol you had a cheaper one. They told me I should pay 4000php for a fake jewelry worth of not more than 2 thousand php. I guess they are just guessing the “right computation” for an item.

  176. need i say more?? lol

    I ordered clothes in china amounting to 6k.. and dhl called me i have to pay 2020 pesos for tax and duties.. wow… im reconsidering importing clothes.. business sana na panimula, ganun pala ang kalakaran.. 2020 pesos tax? to think na i already paid couriers fee of 3k.. oh well.. buntung hininga na lng..

  177. Hi! Im a licensed customs broker and newly accredited early march this year 2011 now im looking for an employment as signing broker. for those interested to me just call or text 798-26-82/09192079343.. or email me at k27_aurellana @ yahoo.com. bago lang ako wala pa ako pinipirmahan before, or any bad records with reagards to customs broker profession and to the BUREAU OF CUSTOMS.

  178. This blog helps me a lot,thanks.The same thing happened to me,well the story goes like this.My friend in japan sent a 10 cups of ramen noodles and 5 burn cds 2weeks ago…all in all it cost 28dollars.As the day passes by we were wondering why the package didnt arrive yet and voila!the next day i recieved a letter saying that the customs hold my parcel and i have to pay taxes…i mean taxes for what!I dont have any idea what they are talking about,its just a noodles for christ sake.So anyway,confuse..i still went to the paranaque post office to pick it up.Then when i arrived there they show me this crazy computation..i am not good in math but i know that computation is ridiculous.So anyway,i asked the fat officer”ok,so how much is the total?and he said Php1400.My jaw just dropped!Php1400 for a noodles!ai naku..nagtaray talaga ako.And some of the officer lumapit sa amin,kung mga makatitig sila grabe..sabi nung isa’ ganda mo maam’.The nerve!nabuwisit talaga ako.Kung di nga lang nagpuyat yung friend ko dun sa burn cds i wont pay for that.heck! i can buy 10 noodles here without reaching a 100 peso,why the hell will i pay for 1400?And then,i ordered clothes in hk amounting like 80 dollars courier of dpex few days ago and now they called me saying that our dedicated customs charged my parcel for Php1500,and Php 500 for storage fee.Andami talagang corrupt dito satin!nahighhighbllod ako..i hope aquino will do something about this.Actually yung order na yun is order ng young sister ko..inipon nya yun galing sa allowance nya for few months para mabili lang yung mga dress na yun.And now i cannot even tell her na nahold nga baka umiyak pa,so aabonohan ko na lang.kainis!!

      • alam po ninyo, medyo mataas nga tlga babayaran sa customs when doin stuff like importation. but i think that is the way of the government to protect those local entrepreneurs manufacturers who are selling also the similar stuff you are importing. because kung lahat po ng products are not subject for proper customs duties, matagal na pong patay ang ating local economy because of importations. well i guess dapat po cguro hanggat maari ung mga gawang pinas ang tangkilikin ntin, to nurture the economy, to provide jobs. salamat po.

  179. i suggest that you go to the boc office and talked to them, there. the official will definitely explain to you, why there are so much taxes, duitable value, duties, import proceessing fee and so on and so fourth. there is a basis why the computation of their duties, taxes was get overboard. because of the tariff. our tariff commission imposed price twice the value of your import thingsto protect most espw
    ecially our local brands, consumers

  180. sad to say the best PO ever in Alabang will now be charging customs tax.
    its the same customs officer in las pinas that will be “computing” the taxes.
    either pay half (without receipt) or pay full (with receipt)
    goodbye ebay for me… xD

  181. @ arnel no you should not be taxed again if your item was returned to supplier because of product fault, however you should have made the proper declaration with the bureau of customs before exporting/returning the product to your supplier. The when it enters Philippine port again it should be free.

    Email me for further details jenny@widelinkportsolutions.com.ph

  182. Hi I am a Licensed Customs Broker here in the Philippines just want to tell you guys that in order to make sure that someone takes care of your shipment you might want to try the services of a Customs Broker, we actually act as your lawyers to make sure you are charged on duties and taxes correctly.

    Email me at jenny@widelinkportsolutions.com.ph

  183. hi,

    I have a package sent from the US by a friend, declared as gifts:
    purse $35 (used louis vuitton)
    Watches $40 (used gucci watch)
    Book $2
    Kids clothes/shoes $10

    total of $87

    I just checked Fedex and the status is “Clearance Delay”. What will happen next?
    Is Customs holding my package? Will I be required to pay taxes even if these are just gifts from a friend? Will they upgrade the price? Please, i will appreciate your reply.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Clearance Delay sucks. They hold your package for a certain amount of time until customs clears it and taxes your package according to THEIR valuations. You pay for the storage fee while its there.

      • dafuq are those storage fee! they should put up a “hold” ones for those that are still in process instead of taxing. It’s just like clearly saying “just dont mail one” because of this fucked up hassle.

  184. hi! i’m not taking the side of customs here, but fyi, fake/costume/imitation jewelry IS subject to excise taxes:

    “SEC. 150. Non-essential Goods. – There shall be levied, assessed and collected a tax equivalent to twenty-percent (20%) based on the wholesale price or the value of importation used by the Bureau of Customs in determining tariff and customs duties, net of excise tax and value-added tax, of the following goods:

    (a) All goods commonly or commercially known as jewelry, whether real or imitation, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones and imitations thereof; goods made of, or ornamented, mounted or fitted with, precious metals or imitations thereof or ivory (not including surgical and dental instruments, silver-plated wares, frames or mountings for spectacles or eyeglasses, and dental gold or gold alloys and other precious metals used in filling, mounting or fitting the teeth); opera glasses and lorgnettes. The term ‘precious metals’ shall include platinum, gold, silver and other metals of similar or greater value. The term ‘imitations thereof shall include platings and alloys of such metals; x x x ”

    you can read the rest of the provisions here: http://www.bir.gov.ph/taxcode/2083.htm

    btw, i do sympathize with you and with everyone else who’s had to pay a large amounts of customs duties because i’ve taken a couple of hits myself. :(

    • Tax is not a problem. We all want to pay our duties to the country. Excessive, yup. Somebody should make them read the tax code again. 20%, not 200% pare! And even if they do make the mistake of assessing materials imported, they should know we bartered for a low price for this goods so they don’t have to upgrade the prices to more than what is being sold at the market.

      • yes right that’s right! My boyfriend from US just sent me a Flatscreen used TV and some gifts and Customs charged me Php 8640 for the final duties and taxes! This is so ridiculous! If its base on the value of the items then not this much! They are second hand the TV is already 8yrs old!!! And when i called FedEx they told me that its of the value of the items inside its the weight! Thi is soo crazy!!!

    • Read the very own law you cited, nowhere does it state levying 200% of the amount you imported. Most customs officials are corrupt cunts and I hope they get lined up and shot. I really can’t wait when the day of the rope comes.

  185. Hi I just want to know would I be charged tax if I send a used laptop about 2 yrs old? Also I am planning on sending a non-working laptop would I also be charged for that?

    Anyone who knows the answer kindly respond, thanks so much.

    • Gimel, our friendly responder in the Bureau has elaborated on this topic. Anything that comes to the country gets taxxed. and in our newest reply, it should be at least 20% of the value. So if it’s a used laptop, it should have a declared value.

  186. Pls help. How much would be the tax and duty of sending a “gift” like cellphone valued at $500 to my brother in the philippines?

    • When customs will let you declare the contents of you package to determine which items which you could validly claim that which belongs to you for the purpose of taxation and filter out regulated or prohibited items. thus “GIFT” is not a declaration but rather an intent. please refer to the formula on my earlier post.

      • you’re a corrupt cunt… Someday, one of your kids will get sick and you will have to buy a medicine outside the philippines, you will be get taxed 200% of that medicine… isinusumpa KO!

      • Yes it is a GIFT. But as long as the declared value of the “not prohibited” items are below the $30 limit, Customs should not tax it anymore. They can check the items but they should not tax as long as there is no unwanted items on the parcel. This is what EUROPEAN countries do on the groud, what they only require is that you itemized the items inside and declare the amount.

  187. hi im from alabang and most of the time my parcel arrives at alabang post office…(and im happy with that)
    but just recently one of my parcel needs to be claimed at las pinas post office…i’m wondering why las pinas???
    i double checked my postal address and zip code and i didn’t see anything wrong as to why it will be delivered in las pinas…(really freaking me out) knowing las pinas post office for their notorious “extra charges”…i just hope that things will be ok…i’m claiming my parcel tom…and may i ask if silver jewelry is identified as an expensive jewelry and requires higher tax? though the value of the said item is only $10usdlr but i bought 6pcs…thanks so much for this blog….=)

    • hi i know this reply is late but i also have the same situation as you. i also pick up my parcels in alabang but some wind up in las piñas. the reason is that alabang post office doesn’t have a custom officer to asses the items in for custom & duty taxes. so if your parcel is shipped using a registered mail or ems it will most likely end up in las piñas because these items have declared values for insurance purposes, which means its important so they send it to las piñas to be assessed. most of your items that you picked up in alabang are shipped using a regular air mail without any tracking number. i’m sure you were taxed for the items you bought since you bought 6 silver jewelries for $10 each, this will sum up to $60, they will definitely charge you for the tax. usually you can get away with it if your item’s cost is less than $30 based on my experience with las piñas post office. by the way, alabang post office already have their own custom officer so i doubt any of your future parcels will be taken to las piñas anymore which is a good thing because it’s just too far to go to las piñas post office. the down side is that all parcels that you will pick up in alabang will now be opened for inspection and can be subjected to tax.

  188. Hi!

    I need help, i’m planning to ship my personal effect to IloIlo, Philippines door to door (20ft 1 container – used household) on may 2011…im working here in Abu Dhabi UAE for more than 6 years, as OFW should i pay any tax in customs…please advice me…thanks a lot! :)

    • i don’t think they charge tax for balikbayan boxes. usually the fees you pay the courier to ship those boxes already includes the custom fees.

      • Do you have any idae about balikbayan boxes from CHINA? Can anyone help me on this?

      • this goes for all balikbayan boxes, wherever part of the world it will come from. the fee you pay to the freight company to ship your items usually inlcudes the custom’s clearing fee. but to be sure, you need to double check this with the freight company you have chosen. when sending the balikbayan boxes, the freight company usually provides the boxes that you will use. balikbayan boxes are not charge by weight, it’s charge per box and prices vary depending where you will have it delivered, provincial costs more than metro manila addresses, so make sure you fill every space of your box before closing and sealing it. also, check with your freight company what other items are not allowed inside the box. electronic items are not allowed to be shipped in a balikbayan box. if you get caught, this will cause clearance delays, your box will be opened and of course you will surely get taxed for it. to be safe, limit the contents of balikbayan boxes to personal effects, clothing, shoes, accessories, food, toiletries, cosmetics, etc.

        do not mistake balikbayan box shipping to sea mail that are being as options by other online retailers from china. sea mail is just a cheaper yet slower alternative to air mail. sea mail parcels would still wind up in the post office and will still be opened and assessed for customs tax. balikbayan boxes are delivered straight to your door by the freight company you paid to handle the shipping. boxes are usually intact and untouched but there are are incident when boxes are opened and sealed back or a part of it has been punctured and sealed back.

        sorry i’m not familiar with any specific freight company in china or in the middle east.

  189. ( Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. Sec. 100 – Imported articles subject to Duty )
    “ All articles, when imported from any foreign country into the Philippines, shall be subject to duty upon each importation, even though previously exported from the Philippines, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Code or in other laws ”

    • it never says 150% to 200%… who come up with that? oh the corrupt people of customs!!!

    • G. Soriano, even if you post a lot of Custom laws here it doesn’t make sense… I just want you to know that these laws are not applied on the ground and that is the problem. I was taxed thrice for items such as a book, a bag, and a laptop bag which are all GIFTS… I believe that is enough already for me to say that I don’t have faith already with the Philpost, or any private courier sending in the Phils. from other countries. All my experiences of paying excessively, waiting for hours in the Pasay customs,and threatened of not receiving my gift from the Pasay Tramo PO are so traumatic.

      I now live in a Scandinavian country and I receive packages from other countries… 10 kilo packages from my sister in London without paying a krone becuase it is stamped as a GIFT, I bought an item from the US and I just paid like 15% of the price as tax… So I don’t know where you based this EUROPEAN taxes etc.

      If you are really concerned… why not investigate your own Bureau and come back to us next time with clean hands!

    • Sec. 2702. Schedule of Rates. — The following schedule on fees for each entrance into or departure from a port of entry in the Philippines is hereby established:

      a. For each entrance from a foreign portP50.00
      chanrobles virtual law library

      b. For each departure to a foreign port50.00
      chanrobles virtual law library

      c. For each coastwise entrance or departure:

      (1) In case of vessel from 6 to 15 tons net 1.00
      chanrobles virtual law library
      (2) In case of vessel more than 15 butnot more than 75 tons net 2.00
      chanrobles virtual law library
      (3) In case of vessel more than 75 but notmore than 150 tons net 4.00

      (4) In case of vessel more than 150 butnot more than 200 tons net 6.00

      (5) In case of vessel more than 200 butnot more than 250 tons net 10.00

      (6) In case of vessel more than 250 butnot more than 300 tons net 12.00

      (7) In case of vessel more than 300 butnot more than 400 tons net 16.00

      Gago. Sino pinagloloko mo?

    • Sec. 3102. At the Port of Manila. — a. Imported Cargo. — The following shall be the schedule of charges for receiving articles from ship’s tackle or ex-lighter, distributing and stacking same on said piers and wharves, and rehandling same from said piers or wharves, onto consignee or agent’s transportation or into transportation furnished by bonded warehouses:

      (1) General cargo, except as specifically mentioned hereunder, per ton of 40 cubic feet of 1,000 kilos at the rate of P4.50

      (2) Provided, That on any single consignment weighing 250 kilos or less, or measuring 10 cubic feet or less, the chargewill be P2.85

      (3) Provided, That on any single consignment weighing 500 kilos or less, or measuring 20 cubic feet or less, but more than 250 kilos or 10 cubic feet, the charge shall be P3.00

      (4) Provided, That on any single consignment weighing 750 kilos or less, or measuring 30 cubic feet or less, but more than 500 kilos or 20 cubic feet, the charge shall be 3.75

      (5) Provided, That on any single consignment weighing 1,000 kilos or less, or measuring 40 cubic feet or less, but more than 750 kilos of 30 cubic feet, the charge shall be 4.50

      (6) And, Provided, That any consignment consisting of single package weighing less than 10 kilos shall not be subject to any charge:

      Provided, however, That the following shall be subject to the special charges hereunder listed:
      (1) Coffee and cocoa beans in sacks, per ton of 1,000 kilos P4.50

      (2) Eggs in baskets, per ton of 40 cubic feet P2.70

      (3) Flour in sacks, per ton of 1,000 kilos P3.50

      (4) Wood furniture, and wood and metal empty containers, per ton of 40 cubic feet P3.50

      (5) Bamboo and wickerware furniture, per ton of 40 cubic feet P3.00

      (6) Newsprint paper in rolls, not less than 34″ in length, 24″ in circumference, per ton of 1,000 kilos P4.00

      (7) Hay in bales, per ton of 40 cubic feet P2.50

      (8) Hemp not in bales, per ton of 1,000 kilos P4.50

      (9) Horses, cattle and carabaos, ordinary, uncrated, per head P1.20

      (10) Horses, cattle and carabaos, etc., for breeding and/or exhibition purposes, uncra- ted, per head P4.50

      (11) Horses, cattle, carabaos, etc., for breeding and/or exhibition purposes, crated, per ton of 40 cubic feet P3.00

      (12) Pigs, sheep, goats, etc., ordinary, uncrated, per head P0.60

      (13) Pigs, sheep, goats, etc., for breeding and/or exhibition purposes, crated, per ton of 40 cubic feet P2.50

      (14) Pigs, sheep, goats, etc., for breeding and/or exhibition purposes, uncrated, per head P2.50

      (15) Infusorial earth and asbestos cement per ton of 40 cubic feet of 1,000 kilos P2.40

      (16) Iron and steel bars and bundles, pipes and pipe fittings singly or in bundles, without marks or with illegible marks or various consignments or marks landed mixed up, to be received in the open and sorted out by invoice assortment and specification for proper delivery, per ton of 1,000 kilos or 40 cubic feet P5.60

      Walang sinasabi diyan na 100-200% ang babayarin mo. Sino pinagloloko nyo? Kaya nagkaganito ang Pilipinas dahil sa mga kurakot at tarantadong officials na katulad mo.

  190. Hi, Just came across this blog and just wanted to ask people who export items and if incase their items were sent back will they need to pay another tax? Note that the item was sent back to the shipper and my courier is telling me that it will be taxed? It left and returned the country so I dont know why should it be taxed again. Thanks for the reply.

  191. Hello, I work at the Bureau of Customs for almost 15years and rose from the ranks until I became an Investigative lawyer of same agency. Like others came across your blog and wanted to clarify some things.
    First of all. the right of ownership enshrined by law are products and properties produced or originated from our country. thus Importation or receiving properties (even gifts or donations) from any foreign nation is a matter of privilege not a Right. Second, You are being charged with customs duties and taxes, not a price or service fee with are regulated by the Depart of Trade and Industry.Taxation is an inherent power of the state to levi money or contribution from its citizenry and inhabitants for the operation and continuity of its government. Third, there is a principle in law specifically Taxation that you cannot be a party in interest unless you have paid under protest. Lastly, in order for you to be somewhat assured always ask of an Official Receipt by the Government and never give in to any offer or arrangements with government officials. if so you have become part of Bribery and the ultimate carrier of the social disease of corruption.
    If you have an Official Receipt you could always go to our main office and ask for a re-computation of assessment. If the assessment is found to be erroneous then you will be entitled for a tax refund and the official charged with administrative and/or criminal case.
    Comment: I have been sent to other countries for seminars and conferences on the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization and International Harmonized Tariff Agreement and surprisingly the Customs of other Nations charge more than we do…like the members of The EU which has an average of 15-30% VAT or Latin America which has an near 150-200% Customs Duty aside from other charges yet I hear no complaints nor read reports (not a single one) from the Filipinos living there.

    • hello gimmel, nice to hear from you. My dad retired from the Department of Trade and Industry, maybe you should take a query. The only help or advice was to just negotiate with customs. As for the protest, we have been looking forward to filing one. Unfortunately, these customs people target startups who cannot afford to really pay the taxes of 100-200%. Second, we want a door to door service! Our company has been paying taxes with no protest since I started this thread and no customs official has ever signed a receipt and gave them to us even with request. Do we have to go back down to Manila just to ask for a receipt every time and protest the taxes personally? Maybe you should try it yourself and buy an item from ebay worth 50-100 dollars and be anonymous. Just a tip, send it via DHL or FedEx. See if you get our point or if you get a receipt from your bureau.

      • Hello Zero MD. congratulations on your dad for retiring as a government employee I believe he did a great service for our nation. as to my point DTI can regulate market forces but has no power to tax and the issue at hand is about the alleged unscrupulous means of imposing tax on packages. I was once a messenger, clerk, inspector, boarding officer, warehouseman, examiner and appraiser before I got to this point and yes, i was also assigned at the PhilPost, FedEx, DHL and Air21. Believe me… I know whats going on. I’ve done it and doing it still…receiving and paying tax on my packages/parcels.
        Unlike with our local PhilPost where the customs officer is always standing by at the Parcel Section armed with an IE and Official Receipt (which the required field on the form and OR is filled out by hand) Private Currier Service like DHL and FedEx also has an assigned Customs Officer which assess the tax and the tax to be paid is included on the breakdown of payable charges and fees on the transaction document given to you by DHL and FedEx. These Private Currier Service then remits the collected tax revenues directly to the Account of the Bureau of Customs at the LandBank.
        Your transaction document with DHL and FedEx has a corresponding reference no. matching with our database which we audit weekly. Your transaction document will serve as your Official Receipt and your basis for filing a request for re-assessment and ultimately for a complaint.
        To give you an idea on the formula of assessment:
        1) Add all the dutiable values (cost of acquisition, shipping, handling, royalties, insurance) then covert the sum into Philippine Peso. 2) find the Tariff code and Rate of duty of your article. Ex. “Shoes; sports, athletic with rubber sole” 62.03 -15% under the Tariff and Customs Code 3) Extract the corresponding rate of duty (percentage) to the sum of all the values. 4) Add the Fixed Customs Charges like Import Processing Fees (IPF) Customs Doc Stamps (CDS) and BIR Doc Stamps. THEN you have the Total Payable Customs Duties.

        Now the second part is the Expanded VAT (No Thanks to Sen.Recto)
        Again do Step 1 and add the Total Payable Customs Duties (plus excise tax if any) then extract 12% from the sum. THEN you have the Total Payable EVAT.

        Before when I started from the Bureau of Customs we were only imposing Customs Duties.
        Now with the legislation and Implementation of the EVAT… Tax on packages/parcels seemed to blew the burden on the tax payer into epic proportions…Our Employees Union fought the EVAT on Imported goods legislation in Congress…obviously we lost. That’s why I strive to become a lawyer instead and got myself out of Customs Operations.

      • OKAY!!! I am so pissed off by this comment here. (excuse me for the word) Sorry Mr. Soriano, but as complicated and bizarre your explanations are to us common Filipinos, I just want to point out that we do asked for receipt! But did they gave us any? NADA! I received a gift worth NOTHING (just a hand-made card and some personalized t-shirts) and i had to pay 2000 pesos for it..

        Now if that is not enough. My mom ventured on an online shop and we purchased some cheap products from China. What we bought for 30 dollars costs us 50 dollars to retrieved! Imagined how much is that since we ordered like 500 dollar worth of products!

        You said it is a privilege to be able to import and not a RIGHT? As far as I know it is our RIGHT to get what is RIGHTFULLY OURS! We paid for those items with our hard-earned money for damn sake, and did the GOVERNMENT think it is our RIGHT to received them? NO. They only thought about OUR OBLIGATION to PAY THE BLOODY TAXES!

        I do not mind paying the taxes as it is my responsibility, I only want to pay what is RATIONAL AND JUSTIFIABLE.. and it is so NOT!

        So excuse me for HATING YOU and PEOPLE LIKE YOU. I simply hate people who claims to know a lot when you HAVEN’T even tried BEING the VICTIM!

    • NOW YOU KNOW THE REASONS WHY FILIPINOS AVOID ITS GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE RUNNING FROM IT! Just read the above passage. Sana maatnaggal ka sa gobyerno para maranasan mo paano maghabol ng pera. Masayado kayong pasarap sa gobyerno.

    • I don’t buy this SHIT…why is the tax always more than the original price… I don’t have respect with the Philippine customs…

      let me tell you why it’s 200% -> because some of it goes to the pocket (proven fact in the philippines)…

      • Yes this is true! With regards to the bullshit who posted the “believe me I know what’s going on” by Gimel Soriano, let me inform you, I have friends abroad and have heard from them that stuff sent to them via other people from other countries aren’t subjected to a 200% tax! NOT EVEN 1% of it! That’s why I am so shocked to be experiencing as to customs asking me to pay 4000php for a SINGLE FAKE JEWELRY. Bullshit are you Corrupt officials. This bullshit pretty much just goes into the pockets of those government corrupt workers. I think you are one of them as well Mr. Soriano. I do hope you know that God is always watching.

    • hi sir..is an item shipped from the US worth $35 a dutiable value?i have learned that 2000 pesos below is not a dutiaable value but taxable…is that correct?referring to RA 9135…..

  192. Hi,

    I need your help. I am thinking of putting up an online business that will entail a high amount of capital and a very slow movement of inventory. The products can be classified as luxury goods. My problem is, that our dear country does not produce these goods and while there are sellers of these, they are not visible enough. In the near future, I might need to find a broker who can help minimize or at least give me the correct amount of taxes I should pay.

    Please recommend ethical customs brokers to me. Thanks!

    • As of the moment, we are looking for a reliable broker. We are not located in Manila so it is very hard for us. We have one contact but is in the pier area. They deal in container vans (thus transported by sea and takes a longer time). So while our business is still small, we have not been able to utilize our contact. They are a family friend and are more than 20 years in the business. They are highly reliable. I know about eCommerce and I have been trying to move stuff into the country from the US. It’s a complicated process and if you will deal in small amounts, a very expensive process. There is the option of balikbayan boxes in the US if you have relatives there. If your suppliers are asian, I suggest you either travel as hand carry luggages are not taxed (that is if your luxury items are small) or if the items are too bulky, you need to establish a relationship with either a broker at the airport area (that is where our friend is pointing us to search [along Paranaque]) or with the couriers themselves. Beware, our items were taxxed because customs tought they were luxury goods.

      • hi, I was reading your blog, as my husband is now in KSA, he saw galaxy tabs there on a marked down price, and wants to bring home about 8pcs to give to his siblings and nieces. Will it also be taxed in the airport? If he will place these in his hand carry bag? Please enlighten us. Thanks in advance

  193. Pingback: 2010 in review « Zero Mella MD

  194. Good thing I was able to read your blog before making a purchase online :( I was thinking of buying from a China wholesaler to start an online shop. But then i was worried of how much Customs might charge me. I guess I should not pursue my plan anymore, since i’m only a college freshamn looking for an opportunity to earn money. My parents might kill me if they’ll see the charges from Customs :|

    • Low risk, low return. You should still try. Don’t give up. The Chinese go too far to avoid customs by going to China and buying them there and then going back by plane carrying them at the airport. They find it cheaper.

  195. Good thing i was able to see your blog before making a purchase online :(

    i’m planning to open an online shop which sells apparels from Korea,China,Japan but i’m worried about how much Customs will charge me. Maybe i should not pursue my plan. Besides, i don’t have that much money to pay them. I’m just a freshman college student looking for an opportunity to earn money. :|

  196. i had also experienced one of those incidents.i bought an item from ebay.it cost 80usd and delivery only available in the usa.so i decided to address it to my relative in usa in order for me to get the item i purchased.then they send it thru ups.i was expecting it to be delivered right at my doorstep but instead they came and gave me a notice saying i have a package to be pickep up in pasay city,philippines.it was my 2nd time picking up a package.i usually receive a package right at my door step.specially from dhl(45 working days) and pay no tax at all.what makes it worst aside from not delivering it to the exact address,they charged me 2 kinds of payments(1 from package handling and the tax which cost 1400php)i dont know how in the hell they came up with that computation.i wasnt ready then(i dont have enough money to pay the tax) due to my ignorance i guess.but i think its not an ignorance because,this is not my first time piking up a package.the incident of my 80$ purchased in ebay had another incident before(3months before this tax issue) which i didnt pay any tax at all.that was when i purchase a bracelet worth $30 and i picked it up in pasig postal office.i am confused and about to curse philippine goverment!
    why is it different way back then?why did they impliment such law which is not helpful to people who are below mid class?how can low class filipinoes purchase cheap products online if they charge us aside from shipping,theres another confusing computation in tax?
    well,the best solution i guess for this problem is,only give tax to bulk of items(10 identical and above).these are meant only for import companies and businessmen.but for personnal purchase or 9 identical and below items should not be taxable(anyway,personal is not meant for business)
    my question is,is there any way the goverment should not collect tax from us or is there any shipment company who delivers package directly to the address and collect no tax at all like it was before?if there is,i will tell my relatives out there in usa to patronize the shipping company where i wont be bothering how much i will give money to those corrupt officials/representative of customs here in the so called land of the most corrupt goverment?what good words can i describe to my land?only pacquiao,charice and good athletes raises our name…how about the goverment?our status?why people of the philippines are dying just to scape from this prison and continou their journey in other country who dont practise philippine bad image?sorry for blogging these…im just carried away…’just couldnt believe why philippines cant be like usa/japan/europe or any better country?

  197. Mark Evan G. Mogueis
    Clearance Support Agent
    R5 Maintenance Base Complex
    Andrews Ave., Pasay City
    Contact# (02) 552-8888 loc 8103
    Fax# (02) 5528424
    Email:markevan.mogueis@dhl.ocm

    CONSIGNEE roden manarang
    HAWB NO. : 9142772516

    INFORMAL COMPUTATION OF DUTY AND TAX
    COST 259
    FREIGHT 55.00
    Insurance & Other Charges 2%(cost) 5
    DUTIABLE VALUE USD usd $319.18
    x rate of exchange 42.516
    DUTIABLE VALUE PHP php 13,570.26
    X rate of duty 5%
    CUSTOMS DUTY Php php 678.51
    TAXABLES
    DUTIABLE VALUE PHP 13,570.26
    CUSTOMS DUTY 678.51
    Excise Tax 0.00
    BROKERAGE FEE 700.00
    CUSTOMS DOCUMENTARY STAMPS 265.00
    IMPORT PROCESSING FEE 250.00
    LANDED COSTS PHP php 15,463.77
    x vat rate 12%
    VAT php 1,855.65
    SUMMARY
    CUSTOMS DUTY 679
    exise tax 0
    VALUE ADDED TAX 1,856
    IMPORT PROCESSING FEE 250
    TOTAL DUTIES & TAXES Php 2,784
    DUTY HANDLING FEE 280.00
    storage fee 0.00
    COLLECTOR CLEARANCE 100.00
    INFORMAL ENTRY DECLARATION 298.60
    TOTAL FEES Php Php 3,462.60

    Note: DHL WILL BE IMPLEMENTING STORAGE CHARGES AFTER 3 DAYS UPON OF ARRIVAL OF
    SHIPMENT WITH MINIMUM OF PHP 448.52 EXCLUDING WEEKEND AND HOLIDAY.
    STORAGE CHARGES = (Number of days x 1.76 x weight ) + VAT
    ARRIVAL DATE 11/12/2010

    No Account
    CONFORME:
    Signature over printed name

    With Account
    ACCOUNT NO: 7 DAY TERMS ONLY
    CONFORME:
    Signature over printed name

    PLS. I NEED HELP !!!

  198. hi!
    i also had an experience with the customs..
    i purchased 3pcs nikon lens thermos mugs from ebay.. i bought it for 60usd..
    the tax computed in front of me was 40usd !!! more than 50%!!!
    but then, it was my first time.. so i didn’t know how much to bring.. my money was only 1500php then, and they were charging me 1800php.. so i asked the guard there if where is the nearest ATM.. and the nearest ATM he said, was not near at all! so i asked if if there is anyway, that the tax will be lessened..
    that’s what you call “UNDER THE TABLE”..
    they charged me 1300php instead.. i got my package but they didn’t give me a receipt…

    now, im planning to purchase cosmetics from ebay.. as christmas gifts for my friends and family.. but im still not sure if ill pursue with that.. im still searching for how much the customs may charge me for cosmetic products (though, it is indicated in the shipping details that i will receive my package in my home). shipping via UPS..

    do you think the customs will hold it if the courier is UPS?
    thanks!

  199. I also blame the BOC for the need to have a collections target. What if importations did slow down? So the alternative is to artificially inflate the declared value?

  200. HI! I’m a Licensed customs broker, just came across your blog and wanted to help. I was a practicing broker but I transferred to an importing company cause I can’t take dealing with customs (you know why). Anyway, what happened to you is normal. They even do that to companies but taxes are not always 100-200%. It depends on the value and the kind of item you are importing (ex cement – 3%, mixer-1% etc). Jewelries and other items considered as non-essential has an excise tax, but fake jewelries – NO!, brokers supposed to know the law but sometimes they are the ones who fools people (because you are not familiar with importation) to also get money from you, so you have to find a broker that you can trust. Also, after payment, you should get a copy of the “Informal Entry Declaration” or what we call entry. At the back of the entry, you will see who your customs examiner and appraiser is. All couriers have their own licensed customs broker and sometimes your fate depends on them. If you have presented proof of payments (invoice/paypal payment/bank transmittal etc), it should have been enough not to upgrade the value of your shipment. Even big importations (container vans) presents proof of payments and just like lawyers, you have to have a good broker to defend your position. Regarding the tax refund, customs duty is not refundable. In other countries (US/China) there is what they call an export drawback – an incentive for exporting – ou will be able to refund 10% of your invoice value. In the Philippines customs duty is an outright expense, but if your company is registered Vatable, the import VAT is not an expense and can be used as an input tax. International door to door is a reality here in the philippines, i dont know why you are doing the pick-up of your goods. However, my stand is that DHL/Fedex should not charge their fees like processing fee, clearance fee etc. because the freight paid is door to door and all those incidental expenses should have been included in the freight. They should only be collecting duties & taxes that they advanced. This is the proper way, and you should pay it upon delivery (because you do not have an account with them). Fedex/DHL and TNT charge storage fees, this is legal, but UPS does not collect storage fees. That’s why we like using UPS, the customer service is efficient, they do not charge processing fees. they will only collect receipted duties & tax. Also, you are right, to avoid taxes declaration should be “personal gift” or “Free of charge, value for customs purpose only” or NCV – No commercial value”. but it will still depend on the quantity, it its more than a dozen, they will still assess taxes. There is an easy and cheap way to ship goods into the Philippines that only few people know. Charges for this kind of shipping is on a per kg or per cbm basis. Door to door including taxes. So for example charge is P600/cbm, you just pay 600 from pick up to delivery d&t included. regarding your question of consistency, there really is no consistency because the total tax does not depend solely on your value, it also depends on what kind of product you are importing and from what country (they add the freight in the computation of taxable amount). to haggle, this what you should do, get the computation as per your invoice value and the computation of the upgraded one. Get the difference then multiply the difference to 20%, this is what you should give customs as “bribe” for them to adapt your invoice value. So instead of paying the whole difference, you still get to save cost. But if you dont want any of your money in their pocket, then pay the upgraded amount, in importation, customs always has the last say but you should have a knowledgeable broker (or even you) because once customs know that they can’t fool you, it would be easier to haggle and sometimes you’ll be able to get away without any additional payment at all. This is the downside of international trading here in the Philippines, especially if you do not have a customs broker.

    • It’s all greek to guys like me. That’s why we need services like yours! Thank you for sharing it with us and because of this we would like a way to contact you regarding our parcels. Are you owner of a firm or do can we contact you through a brokerage company?

    • hi Ms.Joy,i saw your comment here and i have the same problem too.I am selling fake jewelries or fashion accessories and i purchased them from China,but the thing is every time the package arrived in the customs they charge me a lot usually 100 to 200 %.I really need help but i don’t know who i am going to ask for this.I hope you can help me.

      thanks,
      Beth

    • Hi, what shipping company you are referring to??? Please enlighten us readers “There is an easy and cheap way to ship goods into the Philippines that only few people know. Charges for this kind of shipping is on a per kg or per cbm basis. Door to door including taxes. So for example charge is P600/cbm, you just pay 600 from pick up to delivery d&t included.

  201. ’m from the Philippines, I’m planning to buy an item through the internet… I just want to know how much would i pay for duties and taxes for a $60 item? Will I be the one to fetch it on the main office of the BUREAU OF CUSTOMS? Or it will be delivered to me directly on my address? I can’t buy that item because I’m afraid I can’t pay the amount that the CUSTOMS will put in my item… And I’m far from MANILA, I’m from BATANGAS how can this be???? Please answer… ASAP
    P.S I would also like to know how the BUREAU of CUSTOMS (PHILIPPINES) put an additional amount (taxes) to the imported goods…. Thank You!! Hope anyone there knows the answer…

  202. I’m from the Philippines, I’m planning to buy an item through the internet… I just want to know how much would i pay for duties and taxes for a $60 item? Will I be the one to fetch it on the main office of the BUREAU OF CUSTOMS? Or it will be delivered to me directly on my address? I can’t buy that item because I’m afraid I can’t pay the amount that the CUSTOMS will put in my item… And I’m far from MANILA, I’m from BATANGAS how can this be???? Please answer… ASAP
    P.S I would also like to know how the BUREAU of CUSTOMS (PHILIPPINES) put an additional amount (taxes) to the imported goods…. Thank You!! Hope anyone there knows the answer…

    • Ok, having bought thousands of dollars worth on the internet I think I could help you.
      First, you have to be sure the site is secure so they don’t scam you. Even if you purchase on Ebay, they can still scam you. Email the merchant about the item you want to purchase. Most of these tax duties, you can ask them. I know because I’m a merchant too. I have to be able to get my merchandise across my customers in the least complicated way as possible. Having heard from most merchants and suppliers, I have learned that in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is not ecommerce friendly. Be friendly with the merchant, they want repeat customers. Trust me.

      Second, know the courier. Fed Ex is highly reliable and will hold your parcel at the nearest Fed Ex site closest to you for pick up but the tax is hardly negotiable. Once the Customs people call it, you have to pay the amount. So if it’s worth 100 – 200%, you probably won’t be able to haggle the tax. Our experience with DHL was the worst. We had to come from Olongapo and wait till closing time to talk to the Custom’s official about the incredible 200% tax! That means you probably would have to do it to. Other minor couriers offer great ways to negotiate the tax. Apparently, customs don’t usually give them the scrutinizing eye. You may even get your 60 dollar parcel through without a hitch. You have to talk to your merchant about this as most of them don’t offer other courier services other than DHL, FedEx, or UPS. As for UPS, we haven’t got any parcels delivered from them but as I understand it, they also use freight forwarders so it may be as easy to talk about your tax with the Customs people. You may ask your merchant to label the items as “personal effects” or “gift” so the inspectors don’t rip off the package and scrutinize it.

      Third, the valuation of your tax is highly dependent on the inspector. You will never get his or her name which is why we don’t really trust the system. It sounds like a dart board system with nobody taking responsibility. They will always tell you that the inspector is highly trained and knows how much to value each item scrutinized. Right. They valued our alloy fashion jewelries as 16 karat gold items! So I believe that example should tell you how high a training these “inspectors” got. If you’re buying electronics or jewelry, print those receipts! They don’t like (or probably don’t understand) the security of digital PDF versions. If you have printed receipts to show them, they would never question their validity.

      Tip: Ask your merchant to lower the receipt value. Also, if possible, ask them to not print them in US Dollars. They really like looking into stuffs with dollar signs on it.

      Fourth, Negotiate and Don’t Argue. Arguing will get you into trouble. They will put so many things like storage fee, excise tax, and so much input and will give you calculations that you don’t really give a damn about. They know that and they will try to confuse you. It’s just a show. There is no pre-determined tax table for the customs officials. If there was they would have shown me. This is why there are customs brokers. Customs brokers deal with customs officials and they always haggle for this so-called taxes. As for the 60 dollar item in question, it is really hard to tell you the exact amount. We had $500 receipts charged for $10 dollars and $100 receipts charged for $60 dollars tax. There is no consistency! But they will always make up some incredible calculations for you.

      Fifth, always follow-up the status of your parcel with the carrier. If it’s in Manila, they start charging you storage fee by the time it arrives. Incredible! You never asked them to store it, why would they hold it. They just do. If you don’t follow-up, they’ll call you a good 3-5 days after arrival from Manila and you have to pay the storage fee.

      The bottom-line is, the concept of international door-to-door is not a reality here in the Philippines. Big couriers try their best but in the end, Customs will always hold your parcel and charge you a hefty fee. Of the dozens of shipments we had, only 1 was not taxed and 2 of them were fetched at the courier offices at the airport. Another fact, we were told that customs officials do RANDOM inspections. 99% of our parcels were scrutinized and taxed. Also, we were told (by US merchants) that the customs tax or part of it is supposed to be REFUNDABLE. Up to now, we still cannot find a way to refund all our taxes.

      • yap thank you for the tips, and may i ask your help and advice bacause i’m planning to purchase inner tubes and flaps from china and korea but afraid of costom taxes. i might be paying higher than the price. i might be at alost. so kindly help me sir and advice me how to tansport at a loewest and reliable procedure. thank you and gud day

  203. It is all part of the pocket emptying corruption of the Philippines. Just don’t bother sending things there as it triggers a whole line of leeches taking money in the name of ‘import duty tax’. It sucks and the government need to put a stop to it. A friend of mine ordered some books and ended up paying 100 percent again for them. It is disgusting and morally wrong. Fed Ex are the biggest rip off merchants going – do not send ANYTHING through them from your country outside the Philippines.

    • It’s a wonder how big companies deal with leechers? I recently got another parcel “ripped off” and it wasn’t through fed ex. They got all sort of nasty calculations to show me. All the while, I was laughing inside wanting to tell her “Ulul, ako pa niloko mo (You think I’m dumb)?” And the best part is, NO RECEIPT. Hahaha. This time it wasn’t called “Import Duty Tax” it was called “Excise Tax.” You have excise taxes on fake jewelries? I thought tobacco and alcohol had excise tax because of the nature of their effect on the Philippine economy and overall health. Amazing. That’s why there are customs brokers but if I only know how to handle this, I wouldn’t be blogging. I just wish they do a crackdown on this thing. Damn it.

      • hey Zero, i have experience too with customs brokers, who are almost as uniformly corrupt as customs. The typical customs broker is a close relative or connection to the top brass at Customs Bureau and they are partners in crime. It is common knowledge among just about anyone doing business in the Philippines.

    • This happened to me too. My husband sent me a prayer book for Christmas bought in Amazon worth $39 with paid taxes and explicitly signed it as a GIFT. Book arrived through LBC and I was asked to pick it up with a notice that I need to pay P1600 which is more than the price of the book if converted to pesos. I’m really pissed, but what I can do!!! For the sake of sentimental value I paid with a very very heavy heart… Not because of the money but by reason of being so sorry for the Philippine system. It is really frustrating. This happened to me not only once… even in the postal office in Pasay Tramo that they opened my box and damaged the storage box of the bag sent to me as a GIFT. I was aked to pay 1800 pesos but I said I don’t have that much money with me. Then they asked me how much do I have, I said I just have 600 then they gave me a receipt which I believe is a bogus one. I was really angry already at the man who was asking me to pay, so he just turned my back at me. Then another man talked to me and said that I should just pay instead of pissing the other man and even telling to me that the other man is kind enough already to ask 600 instead of 1800. :( How pathetic these people have become so desperate for money despite pf their professional government positions.

  204. Hi there. I find this blog interesting coz you may have some answers I’m looking for. I’ve just opened a paypal account for the sole reason of purchasing a watch at nzwatches.com. It suddenly hit me that purchases like that will go through customs. Now I did my research and found out that, at the bare minimum, they will charge you 50% more the price of your item.By the way, would customs take the payment from the credit card you paid the item/s with or do you have to pay them directly?

    • No. You can’t use your credit card. In our case we paid directly to the customs official at DHL. All our shipments from FedEx were paid at FedEx. DepEx shipments were not taxed, however few stores use that carrier.

      • Hi! I am doing business like you. I will going to order my products from China. The courier is EMS. Did my package will deliver at my door? Or I will be going to custom like you did? I want to hear some suggestions from you. Thank you!

      • no, packages sent thru ems are not delivered directly thru your door. you will receive a notice that you need to pick it up at the post office and the items will be subject for customs inspection. ems is just the same as registered mail only faster. you still need to pick it up at your local post office. don’t forget t bring the electronic receipt of the items you bought online to show to the customs official.

      • I just called EMS today, and they told me I have to pick up my item there, it cost 188, will i have to pay on custom? this scares me! I heard so many experience on custom!

  205. hello, i was just wondering what happened to the end of the story? I sent my sister a laptop (a secondhand one) but i sent it with all the box and accessories. Its in a relatively good condition so people might mistake it for a new one, thus, taxing it quite high. Did the customs official accepted your receipt and proof that the declared value of your seller was true? I hate this. I never experienced anything like this before.

    • Oh I forgot to follow it up. I’ll post it today. Thanks Kristina for reminding me. When you send something like that, place that you will be sending the items as a gift to your sister. You usually don’t get to pay taxes. Nuff’ said check the post. ;)

      • your wrong sir….a bf of mine send me lappy, notebook (brand new one) even stated there as gift…yet customs asks for PhP 3,700.00 they call it tariff :( when my bf sent me again shoes….another tariff..another payment…

        see? thats how wonderful and gorgeous to money our customs are!

        so degrading…

  206. My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

    • Oh we just got the news today Jeff. I was pissed at DHL. We sent the supplier’s invoice and a copy of my paypal invoice as per requested by DHL. The DHL representative told us by email that the customs officials regarded it as “USELESS! WHEN THEY UPGRADE THE PRICE THEY DONT CHANGE IT” Those were the words. I’ll be there personally by tuesday to yell at them. They upgraded the price based on what? The supplier gave us a good price and if we ask for a bigger bulk in the future, she was willing to discount it. So I’m now afraid if I order more, I pay more… in taxes. How am I suppose to try and start a business when my markup has to make up for the 200% tax! I was counting on being a discounter for the said items! Unbelievable Jeff.

      • My sister and her co-workers based in China decided to combine shipping of their Christmas Gifts, 18 mobile phones all in all. The value of the CHINA CELLPHONE is about USD$720. We were so shocked that CUSTOMS (as per UPS) decided to upgrade appraisal into $4,000. and that is 400% UPGRADE! and they are asking me to pay P22,515. for this 18 Mobile Phones. The sad part is that these phones were supposed to be gifts for the Christmas Season and some of the relatives of my sisters co-workers can not come up with the amount. HOW CRUEL AND HOW UNFILIPINO IS THAT?

        Someone tipped me that UPS and DHL actually hired people from the customs to facilitate efficient service to their clients yun pala “BANTAY-SALAKAY”. I was curios why this UPS officer who supposed to be helping me out since I am their client, is giving me no other choice or option but to pay the 22K. He kept on painting a bad picture to me, “items forfeiture”, “ntc non approval” blah-blah-blah. I proposed to just send it back to sender, but he said another shipping fee and tax assesement will again be computed.

        Surprise surprise, I googled this person’s name and saw that he passed his license in 2008 as CUSTOM BROKER, so could it be na siya na ang taga UPS siya pa din ang CUSTOM OFFICER na nag-assess? I want to go to the roots of this problem and I am doing an indepth investigation before going to media.

        I tried DHL before that, but they slashed the side part of my box and got one cellphone inside, and thats another story!

      • FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT! Either the customs are playing a game on “guess who can place a high tax on imported goods!” Wow you just topped my thread. Christmas sharks I would say. This is getting bad. Life ain’t fair but this is ridicuolous. E-commerce cannot happen here in the Philippines if they keep doing what they are doing. You guys got it worse. I think I already know what happened after, they asked you to come down to their office to complain right? And they told you a sobber little story about how they might have made a mistake and would release your package for half the price?
        You have a package you really want, they are the middle men and they won’t give it to you unless they get something for it.
        And then they will tell you about “excise tax on cellphones” just like they told me about “excise tax on fake jewelries.”
        Well I’m just guessing, please do continue your narrative for all the world to hear…

      • This is how the low paid people in Philippines customs raise their pay to become rich/well paid, and also it is just a way to meet their revenue budget. A recent poll of Filipino’s shows that customs bureau is the most corrupt dept in the philippines, even more than the BIR.
        The politicians are in on the action, and it will not end until a cultural revolution occurs in the Philippines. One on the order of what Mao did in China, but of course less murderous, but just as sweeping and dramatic and penetrating into to corrupt institutions, politicians, and careless unthinking people (by better educational expectations, etc.)
        Marcos was a dictator that just lined his and his cronies pockets for decades, and proved able to fool most of the people all of the time — as those who i talk to here still think he was a great leader. He set the Philippines back 20 years, and fooled them all. So Lincoln’s saying is proven (you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, etc.). As well as the expression that people get the leaders they deserve. Because so many of the people here are uneducated, unthinking, and easily fooled, and/or bought off for P100, you quickly understand why only a sweeping purge by a stern but benevolent dictator will change things. Don’t hold your breath.

      • Sa bansa natin napakahirap mag negosyo lahat na lang papatungan ng tax at hindi natin malaman kung saan nila binabase ang computation nila, at karamihan ng mga nasa custom ay puros corrupt. Mahirap talaga mag negosyo sa atin dugo at pawis mo ay sasagarin nila pati pera na dapat magamit mo sa negosyo ay mauuwi pa sa pag bayad ng tax. Halimbawa na lang pag bumili ka ng sasakyan sa atin napaka mahal halos triple ang presyo ikumpara mo sa presyo dito sa Saudi Arabia. sabi nga ng mga Arabo hay buhay parang life. Only in the philippines napakaraming mga sipsip at buwaya sa custom at BIR

    • i have checked it at tariff commission website…its zero duty rate for cellphones…if you will be charged for the value per cellphone it would be customs documentary stamps, 12% VAT, and import processing fee…the value per phone should have been declared supported with receipts as well as the freight cost to arrive at total landing cost. All in all it should have not reached to a $4000 value….you should have questioned them and voiced your concern to the media, the proper authorities or better yet, research about tariff commission…if you think you are charged wrongly you can petition for it for adjustment….

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