The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued new directives on the lodgement of goods declaration and on valuation to improve revenue collection efficiency and ease port congestion.
According to Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 25-2018, dated and signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on December 4, goods declaration must be strictly lodged within 15 days of the date of discharge of the last package from the vessel or aircraft, pursuant to Section 407 of Republic Act (RA) No. 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
The period to file the goods declaration may only be extended upon written request filed before the original period expires, on valid grounds, for another period not exceeding 15 days, and only upon prior approval of the Customs commissioner.
Provisional goods declaration under Section 403 of the CMTA will only be allowed in meritorious cases, CMO 25-2018 states. Importers, consignees, or declarants are advised to have complete information or supporting documents required to complete the goods declaration before making the importation, or see to it that these requirements are completed before filing the goods declaration.
The practice of allowing a provisional good declaration and submission of supporting documents within 45 days of filing, extendible for another 45 days, “encourages inefficiency aside from exacerbating port congestion,” the CMO notes.
Further, provisional goods declaration is subject to tentative assessment of duties and taxes, “which invariably leads to inaccurate physical appraisal or low classification of goods to the detriment of the Bureau and rarely, if ever, a reappraisal or reclassification is made (which could be done only upon request of the district collector to the commissioner pursuant to Section 427 of the CMTA),” CMO 25-2018 declares.
Examiners, appraisers, principal appraisers, deputy collectors, and district collectors are directed to comply strictly with the basis of valuation specified under Sections 700-707 of the CMTA on Sequential Application of Valuation Methods, Transaction Value System (method one), Transaction Value of Identical Goods (method two), Transaction Value of Similar Goods (method three), the Deductive Value (method four), Computed Value (method five), Fallback Value (method six), and Ascertainment of the Accuracy of the Declared Value, respectively.
Except in specified circumstances, customs valuation will be based on the actual price (paid or payable) of the goods to be valued, which is generally shown in the invoice.
The price plus adjustments for certain clients (e.g. royalties, commissions, assists) equals the transaction value, which constitutes the first and most important method of valuation, CMO 25-2018 points out.
A detailed computation of the transaction value of imported goods (price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the Philippines adjusted based on the requirements of Sections 700 to 706) stating the applicable tariff heading duly signed by the examiner, appraiser, principal appraiser, deputy collector for assessment, and district collector will be submitted to the Commission on Audit, BOC-Liquidation and Billing Division (LBD), and Post Clearance Audit Group (PCAG) for validation of the computation of the valuation of goods and auditing of the amount of taxes and duties paid.
CMO 25-2018 states further that PCAG is authorized to secure relevant documents from, and enlist the assistance of, LBD and Import Assessment Service (IAS), Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group, and other offices in discharging its audit functions. PCAG is also directed to submit audit findings to the Office of the Commissioner for appropriate action.
For “purposes of accountability, transparency and ensuring correct assessment of goods and prompt payment of duties and taxes,” IAS is given operational control over the principal appraisers of all ports/districts. Examiners and appraisers will remain under the control and supervision of the district collectors, CMO 25-2018 specifies. – Roumina Pablo