PH Customs sets rules for clearance of postal matters

PH Customs sets rules for clearance of postal matters


The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has released rules on the clearance process for postal items, as prescribed under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 03-2017, signed by both Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, covers clearance procedures for postal items or mail, whether or not subject to duties, taxes, and other charges. The order notes it is the first CAO issued dealing specifically with postal items.

A postal item is anything handled, processed, and delivered by the postal agency, such as express post, parcel post, and similar other postal items. Mail, on the other hand, is all matters authorized by the government for delivery through the postal service, including letters, printed materials, and money orders.

CAO 03-2017 states that BOC shall establish a system for submitting documents and information, to be interfaced with the designated postal operator of the Philippines.

Among these documents are the advance copy of the Postal Customs Declaration Form for postal items from countries where the designated postal operator has a bilateral or multilateral agreement, list of unclaimed postal items beyond 30 days, list of returned-to-sender postal items, list of postal items that were redirected to a third country, and list of damaged postals.

BOC will also maintain, in collaboration with the designated postal operator of the Philippines, centralized offices that will examine and assess customs duties, taxes, and other charges for postal items arriving for delivery within the Philippines.

Carriers will be required to submit the inward foreign manifest and outward foreign manifest to BOC within a prescribed period.

Rules and regulations on de minimis importation will apply to postal items falling within the de minimis value. Such postal items will be released under a simplified clearance procedure using the Postal Customs Declaration Form, unless another form is prescribed.

Postal items with a free carrier (FCA) or free-on-board (FOB) value of more than P50,000 will be cleared through a formal entry process and require the lodgement of goods declaration.

Goods covered under Section 800 (f) and (g) of the CMTA, commercial goods with FCA or FOB value of less than P50,000, and personal and household effects or goods not in commercial quantity will be cleared through informal entry.

Postal items are subject to immediate release, except for the following items: goods redeemed or claimed from airlines, hotels, magazines, online bloggers, etc., through mileage or points earned by the addressee or claimant; conditionally free importation under Section 800 of the CMTA; postal items that don’t comply with the conditions imposed by the concerned regulatory agency; prohibited and restricted postal items; postal items to be entered conditionally free for warehousing, for transit, and/or admission to free zones; and postal items purchased online at a discount, which require the presentation of transaction record.

Also, importations of tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, and liquor products within the de minimis value are to be subject to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code on excise tax.

Violators of CAO No. 03-2017 will be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the CMTA and other regulations. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of bplanet at


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