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:


COST 346.00
Insurance & Other Charges 2%(cost) 4.00
x rate of exchange
php 17,074.53
X rate of duty
php 1,707.45
excise tax 3,414.00
php 23,410.99
x vat rate 12%
VAT php 2,809.32
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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547 thoughts on “200% Customs Tax, Only in the Philippines!

  1. Nagpadala ako last May 7, 2017 ng bag bound to Pinas… Ipinadala ko via Hong Kong Post Office. Ang sabi 9 to 21 days lang matatanggap na ng lolo ko yung ipinadala ko. Halos mag isang buwan na hindi pa din natatanggap kaya trinace ko kung ano ng nangyari sa ipinadala ko, at na hold nga sa customs. Tinawagan ko yung customs jan sa Pinas at ang sabi need ko daw ipadala sa kanila yung commercial invoice nung bag na ipinadala ko (LV ALMA class 7a) kasi hindi aila naniniwala na 400hkd yung presyo nung bag. Ang sabi ko naman po mahirapan po akong magkaroon ng commercial invoice nung bag kase sa bangketa ko lang naman po nabili (parang divisoria). Tapos nung makakuha po ako ng commercial invoice nung bag,hindi daw po nila iaccept yunh commercial invoice na ibinigay sa akin nung taong pinagbilham ko nh bag. At eto pa po, nag send po sila sa akin ng bag na kagaya sa pinadala ko pero hindi naman po ganun sa ipinadala nila sa akin yung bag na ipinadala ko… at ang presyo po nung bag na ipinadala nila sa aking kung saan nila ibabase yung babayarang tax.. at ang presyo po eh 368usd😱 ano po ba ang dapat kong gawin pr i relese nman na po sn nila yung ipinadala ko…thank u po

  2. Putting this up as someone here might be able to help. I have ordered 200+ pieces of Fidget Spinners which were classified as Toys. Now, Customs is holding it as it exceed quantity limit and asking for DOH Conditional Clearance for Release. Has anyone experienced it and how you were able to claim your package?

  3. ung kapatid ko ngpadala nan dslr from japan used na sya, canon 7d.. using ems.. mgkano kaya babayaran ko sa custom.. tsk tsk knakabahan tuloy ako.. bka ibase nla sa market price nuon e matagal na un saka gamit na.. for examinations pa kc d ko pa nappntahan sa Pasay..

  4. Can you please help me if my cargo still in you mr office..in the name of Maria theresa Gonzales javines with tracking number 8753409311..let me know how much I’m going to pay for the tax..
    Thank you

  5. damn, im awaiting delivery of silver accessories ( with gemstones) paid $200 online, fedex tracker shows customs clearance, im afraid i will have the same fate! demn !! i return ko na lng sa seller kesa magbayad ako sa mga corrupt na yan !! and ipa tulfo ko na lng tlg sila!!😡

  6. Hi zero. Been reading your blog as i was trying to find an alterntive for US balikbayan boxes containing commercial goods. Naghigpit na mashado sa customs and we cannot anymore use balikbayan boxes to import goodies/chocolates which my sisters and I sell online. Dapat ba dumaan na sa customs broker pag ganito? Can you recommend me an honest and reliable one?

    For china i can help. We’ve been using si shopwiserph (nakita namin sila sa instagram but alam ko meron din silang facebook) for 3 years now wala naman kami naging problems with them. Pumapayag sila maski isang rubber shoe lang or isang damit lang. Pwede din sila mga boxes the size of balikbayan box. Ang ok dito they never charged us customs tax. Sobrang easy lang parati sa kanila. Pag maliit lang, pinapacourier nalang nila sayo. Pag malaki naman pinapickup nila sa qc or ortigas.

    Like one time nagpabili brother ko ng nike air max (16k dito sa atin, 7k dun sa china hindi siya fake. Original siya talaga).

    we paid shopwiser 800 for the freight china to manila. Then since cebu kami, nagbayad kami addtl 180 pina-lbc nila samin. So 980 total binayaran. Di pa kami napagod. Wala na rin haggle haggle sa customs.

    Nakapagpadala na rin kami sa kanila ng mga ice cream machines 8pcs nung nauso dati yung snow ice. Sobrang baba ng presyo nila. 70k quote samin ng dhl freight palang di pa kasama tax, sa kanila 22k all-in! Machines yan ha malalaki sila kasi naka-styro pa and box. Anyway, hope i was able to help haha. Sana someone here can answer my question above din sa US broker. Shopwiser kasi only takes china lang daw talaga. Expertise daw nila talaga china lang , sayang nga.

  7. oh god! this is so f*cking frustrating. I’m about to sell items from JP for a lower price here and now I’m thinking of how much custom’s is going to charge me? F*ck!

  8. If the customs officer determines that the declared value on the invoice is not the same as their assessed true value, the burden of proof is on the custom official as per Republic Act. He/She must provide evidence.

    If you are a regular online seller like myself, I would advise you register your online business with the BIR (register with the Barangay, DTI, Cityhall first in that order), that way your 12% VAT that you pay on importation will be credited back to you. Also if you are a small time seller (less than 3 million worth of assets used in the business), register as a BMBE or Barangay Micro Business Enterprise at DTI (used to be under Cityhall Licensing Division prior to Dec 2015) that way you are exempted from paying income tax.

    Stay away from importing branded items to avoid hefty duty fees and stay even farther away from importing counterfeits as you’ll be infringing on trademarked goods. Instead, create your own private brand. File your own trade mark (logo, in-house brand name) under your own name with IPOPHL (Intellectual Propery of the Philippines) which is renewable every 10 years and have the supplier print your own logo and packaging on whatever items you are selling. i.e. CD-R King.

  9. Hi, I’m Chris Perez of Manila Red Box. Our service is freight forwarding door to door service, Logistics, Shipping from China to Philippines. We have warehouse in Guangzhou, Xiamen and Yiwu. You don’t need to worry about custom hassle, will take care of it. We are specialized in LCL and small package cargoes. Our maximum delivery lead time is 2 to 4 weeks. You can contact me on my mobile 09778250193 or email manilaredbox@gmail.com, Skype: manilaredbox

  10. How do you import personal stuff from China to the Philippines without getting raped by Customs?
    Hi, I’m Chris Perez of Manila Red Box. Our service is freight forwarding door to door service, Logistics, Shipping from China to Philippines. We have warehouse in Guangzhou, Xiamen and Yiwu. You don’t need to worry about custom hassle, will take care of it. We are specialized in LCL and small package cargoes. Our maximum delivery lead time is 2 to 4 weeks. You can contact me on my mobile 09778250193 or email manilaredbox@gmail.com, Skype: manilaredbox

  11. I bought a car stereo online via ebay which is worth P3,000 pesos. Doble kasi presyo sa pinas. I hope wala maging hassle.

    I now live in Australia and it is so easy to buy things online. It goes straight to my house or at work witout any hassle.

    Corrupt talaga ang Pinas.

  12. I had a friend who ordered 20 USB headsets good for call center. it was an amazing USB headset way better than the expensive plantronics i used. The price was 15usd/pc so the total amount is 300usd. He ordered it from chinese manufacturer and sent it via china air post. It took like 60+ days before the package arrived. we got a letter from post office that i have a package etc., it took me less than 30 minutes to receive the item and they only charged me less than 200php for the handling fee–no taxes and all the shit that you guys experiencing. I also ordered clothes and shoes from 2 different stores in china the first package was 180+usd and the second package was 230+ usd, i asked the seller to declare it as gift and i received the item without any hassle and i paid less than 200php each package for the handling fee.. I also ordered 2 pipo tablets worth 350usd and i paid only 800+ php + less than 200php handling fee since it’s electronics- they charged custom tax for electronic items.

    I also read reviews from other countries who ordered from our favorite site saying the same thing about the bad experience in custome, the most interesting out from thousands of reviews is the buyer from Italy who bought a plated jewelries and was charged X5 of the value of the item for the custom tax and it’s funny because 95% of the bad experience in custom are those who chose DHL and fedex..

    China airpost might take like 2 months before you get the package but at least it is a sure thing that you won’t be charged way more than the value of the item. i also knew someone that he was charged by the airpost like around 1200php but the value of the item was around 1000USD+ and it’s electronic items. that is why, it is better to wait 2 months than paying 200%+ of the value of the item.. It is so upsetting to be overcharged by the custom tax but don’t blame because it’s philippines and it is unfair to use “only in the philippines”, it’s not only in the philippines im telling you, many US, Russian, Indian, Australian and canadian buyers from my favorite site charged times 2-5 of the value of the item

    • MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) raised the “de minimis” value from P10 to P10,000 as its first measure under the new Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

      De minimis is the value of goods for which no duty or tax is collected. Goods with de minimis value are considered importations with negligible amount and are entitled to immediate release.

      The BOC announced the passage of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 02-2016 on Monday, October 10, implementing Section 423 of the CMTA, which provides that “no duties and taxes shall be collected on goods with freight onboard (FOB) or free carrier (FCA) value of P10,000.00 or below.”

      The new CAO will take effect on October 25, 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. The full text of the order can be viewed here.

      “This is good news for Filipinos, who can now fully enjoy their small purchases from other countries. I trust that everyone will strictly abide by the provisions of the CAO,” Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said in a statement on Monday.

      The measure, the BOC said, is an upgrade from the decades-old Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), which only provided P10 as the de minimis threshold.

      The government agency added that the CAO aims to minimize importation and customs administration costs in the clearance of importations with de minimis value without compromising customs border enforcement and control.

      It also aims to make the BOC responsive to the growing trend of liberalization brought about by different international trade agreements.


      The BOC said, however, that certain products are not covered under the new de minimis rule, such as prohibited and restricted importations.

      For instance, importations of tobacco goods, wines, and spirits within the de minimis value shall still be subject to payment of excise tax, as provided by the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

      The new CAO also gives Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III the power to adjust the de minimis value every 3 years to inflation using the Consumer Price Index provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority. – Rappler.com


      • Hi. This is a good news. However i ordered 100pcs (16. 4 lbs) of nail polish from US. A wholesale lot that costs only $60. I used DHL express as my courier and it arrived manila in 3 days. Now customs are delaying my package for 4 days already. Do you have any idea how much will i pay for the tax? This is really frustrating. Please need help from you guys.

  13. Would like to ask you all for some advice.
    I am a non-Filipino who is considering starting an online business in Philippines.
    We will manufacture apparel which will be shipped directly to individual customers in US and EU. Shipping companies such as DHL and UPS will be used. Our profit margin is small so any “extra special fees” would break the business.

    Do you think we would face similar issues described in the comments and the post as a business? Any advice would be great. Thanks

  14. Can I ask you guys something? What if you as a foreigner start an online business in Philippines which would do frequent shipments (using major shipments companies) delivering to customers in US and Europe. Would you still be faced with similar obstacles?

  15. I will tell you even more) Ups wants to charge me 1900 peso duties for just plywood samples 2 USD VALUE which non-taxable in nature. GREED HAS NO LIMITS FOR FUCKERS

  16. HI, well i am experiencing the same problem now. I won a pair of shoes in instagram. I was supposed to receive it way back in nov 15. The postcam to out house at at dec 18 :))) fck. It took them a month for the clearance i wonder kung pinaltan na nila ng class A yung shoes 🙂 Our local post office charged me 1,700 pesos for the customs tax and the post office tax combined. The sender told me that i should not be paying anything when i get the package. So i dont know what to do. I dont even know if i will get it.

  17. Fedex called me today saying that I should pay 560 upon delivery, they sent the summary in my email, it only says 560 for warehouse processing ,no customs duty or other taxes. Maybe customs didnt charge my package or maybe they dont have office today since its weekend ..lucky me:)

    Btw, my package is a refillable ink cartridge worth $24 from aliexpress and i paid $20 for fedex shipping.

  18. I got my order of reffilable ink cartridge from hongkong worth $24, and a shipping fee of $20 today through fedex, I only paid 560 for warehouse processing fee, no customs duty, i was really expecting a tax of 1k more or less, guess i got lucky they didn’t charge that much 🙂

  19. I have a question …. after reading your article, should i even bother trying to send an expensive brand new apple laptop (with the total value of $3500) from the US to Cebu City? im afraid of the customs tax after reading all these stories. Its a gift and i dont have HALF the money of its value to pay towards customs if they were to try to take adavantage… 😦

  20. After reading all these comments am damn scared to gift some fancy jewellery to my best friend in Philippines from India.

    I don’t want her to spend a single penny because am paying everything from here. DHL said they will take care of it and do the door to door delivery.

    Let’s see how it goes. And if they charge more tax, she will reject that gift and gift one when I meet her personally. And if any of guys buy that from DHL while they auction it….. Do remember me.

    It will be a Heart of the ocean replica… from titanic….Necklace set.


  21. I also experienced tha same now. I purchased some shoes in aliexpress at very low price. Since i bought around 10 pairs of shoes, my supplier gave me her best price. Its around $15 per item so I paid around $200. My supplier divided my order into 2 parcel so it won’t look bulky. My package arrived in 3 days and have been stucked now in customs for 10days for tax issue. Since the shoes looks like valentino, the customs charged me of $500 for each shoe (for 1st package) and the other one at $50/shoe (for 2nd packge) for the value of the item. The 2 packages were handled by 2 different customs examiner. I was advised by DHL that I need to pay 35k for the first package and 5,5k for the second package. I told them that it is not the value of the package since my supplier already attached the invoice. They said, custom doesn’t believe in the declared value of the item and so they searched the price in the internet and decided to charged me with that huge amount. I told dhl that it is impossible for me to pay that amount since it is times 8 of the value of the shoes. How can I pay 40k for the tax while the value of the item is only 8k. I even presented to them my credit card bill for my payment and the link where I bought the shoes for them to believe that the value of the shoes is only $15. I told DHL if they will not release my parcel then better return it to the sender. I will just request for refund since I can’t get the item I paid for. But as per DHL, we still need to pay the customs taxes to be able for them to get my package in customs and send it back to my supplier. I said WTF is that. What can I do if I can’t pay the taxes? It means my packages will just stay in the custody of customs and all of their female employees will enjoy my shoes for free? Is there anyone who experienced the same as me? I need an advise how to handle this coz I need to get my package or return it to the sender. Many thanks.

    • All You can do is pray for a miracle. Even am gonna face the same thing. Am about to send a gift to my best from In Philippines through DHL. Let’s see what’s in store for Me. If You won’t pay there customs tax, they won’t send it back and they will place those things for auction and make money out of it.

      Ask someone who has a wider knowledge about the same….. As far as I know…. I don’t think there is any other way….!

      Ridicullous to pay tax for a gift these days.

    • Hi maila have you fixed this? Cause i have the same issue now. I mean they asking for a higher price that the real value

    • Hello, Mai, did they return the items to the shipper? because I’m in the same situation now. Still waiting for DHL and Shipper’s feedback.

  22. As much as I wanna respect the law, everything really pisses me off on the charges. You already bought it yet customs wanna resell it to you.
    2 yrs ago I branded purchased 4 set of cases with screen protector from us worth 300 USD and shipped via Fedex. I was charged for nearly equivalent to $180USD I can’t believed what happened. It was on sale yet feels like customs resell it back to me. Storage fees worth nearly 800 peso for few days and other documents and processing 250 each. Then add the most crazy custom fees on item and vat. So freaking crazy… O.o

  23. Same thing happen to me yesterday. I bought worth P1380 pair of tie rod for my ford bronco. After checking they had me wait for almost 3hrs until 5:30 pm. Then that corrupt grumpy old man came out asking me to pay him P4980.00 for tax and duties. I asked him why?then he replied “kayang kaya mo bayaran yan maganda naman kotse mo e” i said what dahil dun di nyo nasusundan yung batas ng tax and duties? Fyi po 10% and 12% lang po ng amount ng item yung kailangan bayaran. I browse online and found out too many complaint with that establishment in pasay. Those assholes must be stop and we need to do something.

  24. This is the evidence of an absolute corrupt government we have in the Philippines that is toying with the Filipino people. Tax OFW and balikbayans of “stuff” they bought and brought home for their own use (for their own or as pasalubong)? Are you effin kidding me? Is that insecurity and envy I hear talking? Come on Belinda Copioso oh and yes Mr Lina, please think and use your coconut if you have one. This is the problem with our country stupid people governs it but looks good doing it. #posers Look around and you will see too many people in authority (mmda, Pnp, Dilg, etc) who thrives and survives in corruption. Tsk… no accountability and discipline whatsoever. Fear God for crying out loud. Our lives does not end here on earth. Think about where your souls would end up after. #justsaying

  25. This is crazy!!! My husband’s uncle was taxed at the airport for bringing home two Samsung phones as pasalubong. We doubt it kung talagang napunta sa kaban ng bayan yung binayad niya or binulsa lang ng mga kawatan. When I came back to Korea, siningil din ako kasi daw my ticket was purchased on-line. I had to pay tax daw for that, pero hindi ako pumayag. Pinaglaban ko talaga. Simpleng padala na lang nga sa family, seaweeds lang and second-hand digicam gusto pa magbigay ng padulas. Pangmiryenda daw ng nga nag-asikaso sa post office. Hay, golly! Bakit sa Pinas pwede ito? Pano ba natin ito pipigilan? Sobra na kasi talaga.

  26. Same here a friend of mine sent me a gift also from London via mmdc courier or minute man delivery company. The company called me up yesterday asking me to pay 15kpesos before they deliver it to our house. Im wondering if it is possible coz they are asking me to pay thru bank… bdo bank… pls i need help… thank you…

  27. saan po natin pwedeng ilapit ito? nangyari na din sa akin eh..nag order po kami online sa ebay.com at paid na po lahat pati shipping fee..tapos dumating po ung parcel kanina at sinisingil po ako ng 1370pesos para daw po sa tax churva na binayaran ng company nila sa customs ganun ganun..hindi ko talaga gets kung bakit may tax na mas mahal pa sa inorder na item?worst is paid na sya through credit card…san ako magpapahelp?DTI ba?

    • I have the same sentiment.. i ordered an item online worth $16.29 only.. tumawag ang DHL and need ko daw mgbayad ng P1,092.00 for custom duties!! pambihira!!

  28. today my friend from UK sends me a gifts containing laptops, I-phones, i-pod air, jewelries, perfumes, ladies hand bags, teddy bear, shoes,dresses including a big amount of money, etc. then he e-mailed me last night that the courier company/diplomat from his country said to him that i need to arrange 600 or 700 USD for the local clearness here at the airport so i converted it into Phil. peso,..then it really shocks me because after i converted it, i noticed that the amount that im going to pay to clear and for that stuffs to handed in me is about 31,588.45 PHP but i think based on the experiences of all here, i think customs will charge me more than 31, 588.45 PHP as i expect now and it bothers me so much…i feel sad and annoyed much because supposedly its a gift for me from a friend but why is that I’m also going to paid that to claim it and its like im going to buy that gifts for myself…can someone help me if there is some authorities who can help me through this…i really don’t know that there’s like this kind of law in the Philippines esp. in customs because its my first time to receive a stuffs though plain cargo…

    • Same here din po… the courier called me up yesterday asking me to pay 15kpesos theu bank… bdo bank… is that possible…?

    • try nyo poh mag sumbong sa failon ngayon or sa T3 kse yan tlga papakinggan ka pag sa goverment ka nag sumbong nganga ka.

    • Same lang tayo ako din last Sept 8 dumating and its a gift also that one and nagtext sila sa akin excess daw ako ng 4kg so magbayad ako 13k through lbc.un ang sabi eh. After nyan nagtext ulit pagkagabi na we need to pay 35 500 because na detect daw na may laman ung box ko na pera.para daw makuha ko at kelangan magbayad ng 35k for the certificate of anti money laundering. Eh Malay ko ba na naglagay pala sya ng pera late na nagsabi sakin ung sender… Pinaghirapan ng tao un. So d tlga ako makapagbigay wala naman ako pera. Eto pa sila daw magdeposit sa pera. Ano ba gagawin ko. Hahayaan ko nalng yun? Air cargo din un sakin

      • Ganyan din po nangyari sa akin ngayon.. Nuh po b ginawa nyo mam? Nakuha nyo po ba ing padala? Pinadalhan din po ako ng mga itms like perfume, bag, ipod loptap and etc.. Tpos tnxt ako ng cargo forwarding kc my excess baggaga and magbayad ng 13k.. tpps my na detect daw pong pera kya need to secure anti money laundering certificate.. Pls reply k UK ng nuh po ginawa nyo..

      • Ganyan din po nangyari sa akin ngayon.. Nuh po b ginawa nyo mam? Nkuha nyo po b UK ng package nyo?

      • Mam niloloko k lang ng mga yan. 500k ang minimum na halaga para pag suspetsahan ka na galing sa laudering activity. sus

    • hi kath, that goes the same as mine…my friend also from US send me some gadgets and now the clearance officer of the said courier called me to pay a big amount for them to proceed the delivery of my package…have you received your package?and did you really paid the P30k+? i need your opinion also before i send my payment to the tax…thanks God bless you

    • Hi kath dd you pay the tax and did you get your items i think this scam as i also bothered into this online chatmate sending me stuff from us but now when arrived also asking me to pay first for the tax clearance and worst is he gave me the tracking number of the package and i saw it online on the couriers website…

  29. Anong hakbamg ang dapat nating GAWIN para sa mga taong BUHAYA sa loob ng EMS Customs.
    libo2x ng mamamayan ma release ang package nila pero eto tayo sumisigaw ng Hustisya pero walang Umaaksyon.

  30. Philippines’ customs is one of the most corrupt institution sa bansa natin. I had a friend who had her internship sa Customs sa Manila and nakita nya kung gaano ka corrupt ang mga tao doon.

    I hope this will be cleaned-up. Yung mga corrupt, itapon sa Manila Bay. ***rant***

    • Also, isa pa sinabi sa akin ng friend ko. Yung ibang mga packages na naandoon, pinaghahati hatian na ng mga tao doon.

      My theory is this:
      1. Itataas nila ang value
      2. Pag di mo kinuha, paghahati-hatian na ng mga tao doon.
      3. Pag kinuha mo, laki ng babayaran mo.

      It’s always a win-win situation for those corrupt animals.

  31. This happen everywhere. I’m Filipino from Toronto and customs tax goods based on assess value and not declared. I bought goods and I pay Canadian customs on their assessed.
    This totally make sense, if you import Ferrari and declare the price of Honda, custom will tax you on Ferrari. Those on import/export business are notorious on undervaluing their goods for tax purposes. We don’t want that right?

    For those internet buyers, it’s better if you buy local or look for their local distributor. As filipino, I’d rather buy local when I’m in the Philippines. Custom taxes are other way of governments (not only in PH) to keep local goods competitive.
    Don’t get me wrong, probably their are scams in Philippine customs, but importing goods should cost you more than buying local to keep the local economy healthy.

  32. Hi. I’ve recently ordered a $100 graphics tablet from a reputable seller thru amazon. The seller sent me a confirmation email saying that the shipment carrier is DHL and these were some of the few words they sent me–” Also, kindly inform you that there might be customs tax levied by your destination country. Normally we will lower the declaration value of the product to protect our customers from being charged a way-too-expensive import duty by the local customs, however, we cannot guarantee that it works every time. Please know that additional charges for taxes or customs clearance must be borne by the recipient, we have no control over these charges and cannot predict what they may be”

    It was nice that they warned me about this, but now it made me scared of how much I would have to pay for the customs tax. I’m still a student and I had only saved enough money for that tablet because I really need it for my part time job. And from what I’ve read in the comments, I’d say I’m literally terrified right now.

    Can anyone pls tell me how to deal with the corrupt customs officers? Also, any ideas on how much I should only pay for? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  33. Also same experience……i have tried DHL, UPS and others …..all the same, they are happy to accept a fee for door to door delivery then equally happy to advise that there is another charge to clear the C&E in Manila. As for whether the C&E is the right amount I dont know but seems to me if they offfering door they should do it! Whats to stop them charging the C&E in advance before they take the job. Very frustrating to have to deal separately with someone and be held to ransom before it gets released.
    As a cynical British bloke it all seems a bit too convenient for the courier companies…..also a very convenient way for Philippines gov to protect its balance of payment deficit and control imported goods……

    • I have tried it before with DHL and true enough, the charge was doubled not mentioning the shipping fee was around $120 for a $55 bag of teas… after a month, the package arrived but then surprisingly, they hold my package until I will pay another Php2300 and it was even for pick-up!
      So the next time I did it, I instead use a balikbayan package from Umac which only charge me $80 and it was door-to-door, after 2 months it arrived with no extra charges! very realiable.

  34. Wish i had read al this before i did my small foodsupplements shipment from the USA to the Philippines . All the words written here about thifs and robbers are true. I am amazed that these legalized(?) robberies can go on and on for years . The only thing I can say : I learned my lesson and most strongly recommend NEVER EVER to send anything ( except maybe an urgent letter for which they also charge the jackpot) .
    The value of my supplement parcel was $41. The freight costs were $9 . Sofar the good news. When it arrived at the DHL branche in Dumaguete they had changed the value of the contents into $60 without having opened it and they charged me almost 1500P ( $34) “customs duty” which consists of 1100p customs duty and tax and about 400 of their famous fantasy fees. All in all more then 80% of the value of the parcel .
    The real duties they legally have to collect for “health and beauty”items is 19%. So 4 times more then I had to pay . Where is the money going ? Maybe partly to DHL ? In Europe I have perfect experience with DHL but here I am not sure who is doing the robbery . Maybe they are dividing the loot .

  35. Hi, what if oorder ng Gadgets sa Alibaba? balak ko kasi bumiti ng 20 units of action camera sa alibaba.. mahaharang parin ba un sa customs?

  36. Last October 2014, I decided to shop online in advance for Christmas season. So I won’t get into Christmas rush for November. Now, I bought the items for about $80 and the shipping rate is $50-ish. And I chose EMS to carry my package here in Philippines. Moving forward, I received a Notice Letter from customs that I should visit their office and claim my package and I am so excited and I can’t sleep that night because this was my very first time that bought 15 items from an online shop. The day came, I was at customs and they’re checking/inspecting my parcels in front of me one by one, and they asked me how much did I bought for these items. And I said around $130. Then the inspector/mad lady came back to her office to compute my tax and I think this will just cost $30. (crossing my fingers) Then the officer called me and he gave me a piece of paper that includes all the taxes even the VAT and They even the Landing Cost!!! and the tax price was $80 freaking dollars!!!! I have no Choice but to hand out my $80 to these corrupt custom officers..

    • If you want a correct assessment you need to print receipts (important!) , know the tariff codes, and bring a printout from the BOC’s OWN customs duty calculator in order not to be screwed.

      Basically – you need to know the law better than the assessors.

      • hi i currently have the same problem,i order online a 3 dresses and customs over charge my packege,the 2 dresses worth of £15 each so it cost £30 ,and the shipping cost £13 each and cost to me of £26 in phils peso 2 dresses worth of 3,600 pesos and another 1 dress the price is £10 and shipping is £13 ,convert to phils peso all i have paid is about 4,900 pesos,it was my 1st time i order online and i was very excited ,last feb 11 2015 DHL deliver the packege it was only 1 dress in the plastic bag,i was shock cuz it should be 3 in 1 packege and i didn’t expect they will charge me very high,the 1 dress cost 1,800 with shilpiing and they want me to paid the same as 1,800 PHP,omg i was shock,i ask DHL if wheres my another packege and why it was only one ?they said its only 1 i was shock again and i didn’t pay my packege yet cuz it was 200% the price of dress my packege still in DHL and im wondiring when they said it was customs charge cuz they have my packege already ,is anyone could help me if it was frm DHL cheating on me? or in the customs,plz help,and BTW my goods i order is highly branded from UK and until now im not sure if the 2 dresses is lost

  37. I have the same issue…DHL express phoned me today saying I need to provide product description/brochure & product usage for proper tariff classification. They won’t able to deliver the box till I paid the custom tax of 7K …what?! Its only a Christmas gift for my son (toy & chocolates). I spoke to my sister in law (the sender) and she said she paid £70 for that small parcel (so why charging me again). This custom taxes really pissed me off. Last time I claimed my son’s parcel at Philpost Manila (2 sets of briefs/12 pcs & 1 box/3 pcs kinder egg chocolates and customs charged me P1,700. I asked the custom staffs why they’re charging way way too high…the tax is far more expensive than the items. They compute it in front of me saying, the amount of the items (briefs & chocolate) plus d postage stamp since its from UK its British pounds then they will convert it to US dollars before converting it to peso.. thats ridiculous! They said I have 60 days to pay the tax and collect my parcel. I asked what they’re going to do with those unclaimed parcels, if they will send it back, they said,”all unclaimed/abandoned parcels are for auction”…great they know exactly how to make instant money from others belonging! I forwarded my complaint to Sen. Bam Aquino thru his FB page and his staff replied right away that they will conduct an investigation & will let me know…until today I’m waiting for the result of their investigation and action. I encourage all the victims here to find ways to voice out their complains…we need to stop BOC in their overcharging scam!!

    • We have a same problem my box is just arrive this day and I did not get it cause they said that custom declare that I need to pay 2,981 peso,how come the package is already in the post office and they said I pay in custom,hope you can advice me what I’m going to do.

  38. Me too got the same problem, I think they are just interested to the items delivered thats why they taxed us so high. I ordered 50pcs usb cables from Hongkong and paid 100usd, the declared price on parcel was 29usd, they shipped it via DHL and arrived here on Nov 19, next day the customs held my for clearance until I waited for a week and its still held by customs, so I called and shocked, a declared 29usd parcel with a tax 250usd or 11,000pesos+, sorry lazy to compute. Its Is there a way I can complain?. They are just stealing our goods. I really want to teach them a lesson

    • So you tried to screw customs with a fake value, and they screwed you right back – sounds like they taught you a lesson!

      Declared value is only a Guideline – they are well aware that lots of people put a lower amount to avoid charges. Had you actually brought the physical receipts for the actual $100 cost + shipping you might have contested it and got away with the actual tax cost of around a 1500-2000 peso charge (depending on delivery method).

      I believe if you order more than 6 items it is considered merchandise and Im pretty sure you are supposed to have an import license or work through a broker.

      • Hi Steve, I don’t know who you are but your post makes sense to me. I’m looking at this page because I don’t wanna get screwed by the BOC as much as I don’t want to screw them up. I am trying to import products from China worth usd480. How will I know my over all custom clearance cost? Is there a certain percentage that they will charge me with? The supplier offered to lower the declared value but I’m not into that kind of thing. As it might cause more hassle on my part. For others who are reading this, I’m not trying to be holy or something here I just feel like my honesty will be rewarded with the same seed I will sow. By the way, the products I’m importing are meant for our online business. Is there any other documents that I will need to present or proof of purchase or order showing the right amount will suffice? I’m hoping for your email response to this. Thank you.

  39. Hi,

    I also experienced the same frustration as you.

    My friend sent me a package from US last October 7, 2014 through local postal service. Due to urgency, she had it mailed via Priority mail and paid about USD 55.35 and gave her a tracking number. She was told that it will only take 10bdays to get here thinking that it will be delivered door-to-door. So, i started checking USPS website for an update of the package. As of October 14, it already arrived in the Philippines. Then, October 18 came, the status of the package is for Custom Clearance. I constantly checked the status until a postman came November 7, 2014 and sai that I needed to pay a total fee of Php2,261.00.

    Say what?!? Php2261.00 for what?!? For taxes?!?


    The size of the box is just half of the microwave oven. Contents are 1pair of Tone-ups slipper, few small bottles of food supplement, few pieces of make-up and nail polish. And I needed to pay Php2261.00 as it was detected as merchandise. What again?!? A merchandise for a few items! There must be something wrong.

    I decided to go to Customs Philpost to dispute the charges the following week. From the office, I directly went to Customs Philpost hoping that I can dispute the fees.

    I waited for the tax assesor named Sally from 8am to nearly 11am. She got there late because “coding daw”. Duh! Whatever! Ok, fine. She immediately showed me a slightly thick book. Said that it’s PTCC book (if i remember it right)! A guide book about taxes, policies, fees and how they calculate the taxes. For example: bags, slippers – 15% x 12% vat, food supplement 7% x 12% vat and was told coffee is 45% x 12% vat because we produce coffee here and the government is discouraging us to purchase and patronize imported products, some sort like that. I was like, ok fine! Therefore, no chance that the fee assessed can be disputed.

    Per Ms. Sally, to tell my friends if to send a package from abroad it has to be thru a private courier like LBC, DHL, FEDEX or UPS because most of the time the sender pays for the fees and receiver does not have to pay anything. However, there are times that the receiver pays for a fee if the fee was assessed incorrectly by the agent (courier). Ok, fine again.

    I left Philpost with so much dismayed.

    Since the package was already at the local post office which is in Plaridel, Bulacan, I was charged Php100 for PTCC again and Php75.00 for the money order fee.

    Total tax assessed by customs : Php 2086.00
    PTCC fee : Php100.00
    Money order fee : Php75.00
    Total fees paid : Php 2,261.00

    I just don’t understand our government why they collect so much fees. Why they have to pass the burden to us, sender and receiver of the package, most of the time! And worst, why does the receiver who is located outside Metro Manila need to pay for the money order fee? I understand that the payment collected needs to be forwarded to CUSTOMs Philpost by issuing a money order. But why do the receiver pay for it? I just don’t understand! What is happening to our government? Where does our huge taxes go? To their own pockets?

    I really don’t understand how our government works.

    I am frustrated with what’s going on with the Philippine government.


  40. Hi,

    I also experienced the same frustration as you.

    My friend sent me a package from US last October 7, 2014 through local postal service. Due to urgency, she had it mailed via Priority mail and paid about USD 55.35 and gave her a tracking number. She was told that it will only take 10bdays tp get here thinking that it will be delivered door-to-door. So, i started checking the USPS website for an update of the package. As of October 14, it already arrived in the Philippines. Then, October 18 came, the status of the package is for Custom Clearance. I constantly checked the status until a postman came November 7, 2014 and sai that I needes to pay a total fee of Php2,261.00.

    Say what?!? Php2261.00 for what?!? For taxes?!?


    The size of the box is just half of the microwave oven. Contents are 1pair of Tone-ups slipper, few small bottles of food supplement, few pieces of make-up and nail polish. And I needed to pay Php2261.00 as it was detected merchandise. What again?!? A merchandise for a few items! There must be something wrong.

    I decided to go to Customs Philpost to dispute the charges the following week. From the office, I directly went to Customs Philpost hoping that I can dispute the fees.

    I waited for the tax assesor named Sally from 8am to nearly 11am. She got there late because “coding daw”. Ok, fine. So, she showed me a slightly thick book. Said that it’s PTCC book (if i remember it right)! A guide book about taxes, policies, fees and how they calculate the taxes. For example: bags, slippers – 15% x 12% vat, food supplement 7% x 12% vat and was told coffee is 45% x 12% vat because we produce coffee here and the government is discouraging us to purchase and patronize imported products, some sort like that. I was like, ok fine! Therefore, no chance that the fee assessed can’t be disputed.

    Per Ms. Sally, to tell my friends if to send a package from abroad it has to be thru a private courier like LBC, DHL, FEDEX or UPS because most of the time the sender pays for the fees and receiver does not have to pay anything. However, there are times that the receiver pays for a fee if the fee was assessed incorrectly by the agent (courier). Ok, fine again.

    I left Philpost with so much dismayed.

    Since the package was already at the local post office which is in Plaridel, Bulacan, I was charged Php100 for PTCC again and Php75.00 for the money order fee.

    Total tax assessed by customs : Php 2086.00
    PTCC fee : Php100.00
    Money order fee : Php75.00
    Total fees paid : Php 2,261.00

    I just don’t understand our government why they collect so much fees. Why they have to pass the burden to us, sender and receiver of the package, most of the time! And worst, why does the receiver who is located outside Metro Manila need to pay for the money order fee? I understand that the payment collected needs to be forwarded to CUSTOMs Philpost by issuing a money order. But why do the receiver pay for it? I just don’t understand! What is happening to our government? Where does our huge taxes go? Their own pockets?

    I really don’t understand how our government works.

    I am frustrated with what’s going on with the Philippine government.


    • Awesome! That made me think that many of us need not to go somewhere else to find a good income. It’s right here in the Philippines if you are in in the right place. Eg customs. I understand that the government is trying to confine its people to buy local products but since importation tax duty is not relax, our products are not improving fast enough. We need to be challenged. So much products are on the market right now that we could have enjoyed but been suppressed by government. Tax is a brilliant idea unless used properly back to our system. But hey, can someone out there fix the road to my village. Potholes are big as a dump truck and rubbles as big as a tricycle!

  41. Hi.. I am currently facing the same problem also with FedEx, the customs charge me 400 % for my goods. Besides this, due to my client expire import license, the stock has stuck at customs for 2 months ,causing us more trouble. May I ask, or this matter, we can nego with the customs or FFedEx? Do we really need a broker? Possible do it under the shade with lesser fee. Because the things is drag too long. If last resort, we just don’t want our goods , Will there be any consequences? Really appreciate for any feedback.

    • What shade? Commonly it works if you know somebody inside! I understand your frustration but things like this should not be encouraged. That is what we are discussing here. Stop corruption if we can. Educate ourselves the right way. The government really has to look into this issues. They should introduce watchdog on all government departments .

  42. Meron po nagpdala sa akin nkilala qooh xia through online ngpdala xia sa akin ng Cash jewelries and gadgets kya lng hinold ng custom ung mga pdala.. Kailngan ko daw mgbyad ng 12000 sa western union.. Ano b yun totoo b un o scam lng o yung nakilala qoh scam din o di nya din alm un.. Please pakisagot kung ano b un

  43. A package worth less than $40 was sent to me via DHL (untraceable, maybe it’s just standard shipping). Will I get taxed big time too?

  44. Ive ordered boxer shorts 10pcs from china..
    And declared value is $10 only.
    Shipped via EMS,
    Custom tax me P836 + P100 in releasing window =P936 total!
    What a tax for boxer shorts only????
    Pls be aware dont ship via EMS,
    Go with DHL/UPS/FEDEX instead..

  45. Kalokohan talaga ang Pilipinas. nagbayad ako ng 2,300 php sa 5 pairs of shoes na binili ko online after a month na hinold nila tapos masama pa nung binuksan nila package ko hindi na nila ibinalik yung mga sapatos sa box. yung mga sapatos na lang nakuha ko wala na yung mga box niya. e importante yung box sa buy and sell. sarap ipakulam ng mga buwayang yan haha.

  46. Im planning to buy a phone online from china “aliexpress” which is worth about $150 but the supplier said that he can ship it as a gift to exempt tax and i can also chose the decalred value for the items. My concerned is what if i declare the value of the phone to $30 to lower the payment, is there a chance that they will open the parcel? or they will know the exact price of the phone.

  47. Use EMS for small shipment up to 30 kilograms. Inform your supplier to undervalue your items to at least fifty percent. Customs in EMS Pasay is manageable. 🙂

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

    • hi.regarding to ur problem. may i ask the name of that man?coz my mom met a man online, he sent a parcel then before it was delivered to her someone called her to pay the tax cause the custom holds the parcel.that man is from uk also.then he told my mom he is in venezuela for a business..pls message me asap..

      • marami scam sa dating sites.. they pretend to be a girl or a boy depende sa victim…pero wala naman talagang pinadalang package. yung name na nilalagay sa western union na pinapasend nila..yun talaga ang kausap ng victim. been there pero di nila ko maloloko.

    • same story like mine… its a scam girl..theres no such package.. that is syndicate i think who has branches all around the world.. dont pay thats it.

    • SCAM! dont pay anything..once you deliver package everything is being paid. you just need to wait and enjoy the gifts.

  53. 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.

  54.   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:

    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!!!

      Mary Grace C. Besmonte


    • 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.
      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!

      • super scam. gosh super obvious. my mother in law almost fell into this, buti na kwento nya and we stopped her from paying 25k. tanga na lng ang maniniwala d2.

      • and by the way same laman ng package ng friend mo ang laman ng package daw ng mother in law ko. wag basta basta maniniwala. kung iniisip nyo easy money kayu pa ang maluluko.I dont understand kung bakit ang dami naniniwala d2, do ur own research wag tanga tangahan please. ka stress kayu

    • Definitely it’s a scam! We also received completely the same message! ATTENTION: Sharon H. ——-

      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 skyfreightexpress.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:


      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!!!

      Mary Grace C. Besmonte


      Muntik na tlga kaming mgbayad ng 10,000 pesos hahay!

    • SCAM! i received packages from my sister in canada and theres no such things.. once they sent it everything is paid the only thing you need to do is wait and receive the parcel. I have the same experience and i dont like to pay anything.. who cares to those items…lolz..

    • 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. 🙂

  55. 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

  56. 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?

  57. ​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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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 😀 Thank You

  60. 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..

  61. 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.

  62. 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 .

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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

  66. 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.

  67. 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.”

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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?

  73. 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,

    • 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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?

  77. 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.

  78. 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?

  79. 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?

  80. 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.

  81. 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 😦

  82. 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.

  83. 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…

  84. 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!

  85. 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!!!!

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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.

  90. I know this post is old but since the comment section is very active, I kinda want to join in. 😀
    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.

  91. 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?

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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?

  96. 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.

  97. 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

  98. 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.


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

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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?

  102. 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…


  103. 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 :((

  104. 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…

  105. 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!

  106. 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!!!

  107. 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.

  108. 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)

  109. 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…

  110. 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!!!

  111. 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.

  112. 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 🙂

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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


  116. 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 🙂

  117. 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.

  118. 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.


  119. 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…

  120. 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.

  121. 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.

  122. 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!

  123. 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. 😛

  124. 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?


    • 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.

  125. 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.


    (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
    Current Exchange Rate PhP – 41.76
    Duitable Value PhP – 986.74
    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
    EVAT Rate (%) 0.12
    Expanded Value Added Tax Payable PhP -192.05


    CUSTOMS DUTY PhP 98.67
    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!!!

  126. 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..?

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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…

  130. 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..


    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.

  132. 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!!

  133. 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? 😦

  134. 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!

  135. 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!

  136. 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.

  137. 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… 🙂

  138. 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

  139. 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.

      • 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?

  140. 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.

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

  141. 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.

  142. 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

  143. 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,

  144. 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..

  145. 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.

  146. 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!

  147. 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.

  148. 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.

  149. 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

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

  151. 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.

  152. 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

  153. 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.

  154. 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.

  155. 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,

  156. 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.

  157. 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.

  158. 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 :





    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:

    Executive Secretary

  159. 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.

    TEL NO. 2550523 * FAX 254-5634 E-MAIL: eduardrc007@yahoo.com.ph

    March 31, 2012

    Puerto Princesa, Palawan



    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,


    • 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.

  160. 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.

  161. 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.

  162. 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!

  163. 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”

  164. 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. 🙂

    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! 😀

        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.

  165. 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.

  166. 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.

  167. 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.

  168. 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.

  169. 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.

  170. 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.

  171. 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.

  172. 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 😀

  173. 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.

  174. 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?

  175. 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

  176. 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 😦

  177. 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? 😥

  178. 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.

  179. 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

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

  181. 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.

  182. 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.

  183. 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. 😦

  184. 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.


    • 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

  185. 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.

  186. Hi,


    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
    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


    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


        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


        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


        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

        This message was scanned by ESVA and is believed to be clean.

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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.

  187. 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.

  188. 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!

  189. 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.

  190. 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.

  191. 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.

  192. 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!

  193. 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:


    hope it helps.

  194. 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.

  195. 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%?

  196. 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!

  197. 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.

  198. 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… 😦

  199. 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.

  200. 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).

  201. 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.

  202. 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 =)!!!

  203. 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.

  204. 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 😛

  205. 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).

  206. 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!!!!!…..


  207. ZeroMD,


    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.

  208. 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 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!!

  209. 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.


  211. 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.


  212. 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.

  213. 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.

  214. 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.

  215. 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: https://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.

  216. 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?


    • 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.

  217. 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.

  218. 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.

  219. 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!

  220. (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)

  221. 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/

    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.

  222. 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.

  223. 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..

  224. 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.

  225. 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.

  226. 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

  227. 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

  228. @ 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

  229. 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

  230. 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.

  231. 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.

  232. 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.

  233. 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.

  234. 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.

  235. 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.

  236. ( 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.

  237. 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.