While the Bureau of Customs (BOC) still hasn’t recovered on their recent “balikbayan box policy” scandal, they are once again getting criticism for imposing taxes on imported books.
Concerned netizen Elizabeth Ramos took it to Facebook to share her Customs nightmare.
Ramos shared she ordered a discounted set of Harry Potter books online from abroad. Per the Department of Finance, all imported books are tax-free based on quantities. Institutions are tax-exempted on imported 12 pieces of books per title, while 6 pieces per title of books are tax-exempt for individual purchases.
Since Ramos imported seven Harry Potter books, Customs gave a reason to state that all Harry Potter books are the same. She will not be able to get her package unless she paid for more than a thousand pesos as calculated by Customs. However, Ramos fought for her right.
The Facebook post
Dahil sikat ang #BureauOfCorrupt este #BureauOfCustoms.
Here’s my experience to the most corrupt government office of the Philippines.
I ordered Harry Potter Boxed Set (7books) from Bookdepository. I got the #EMS notice last December 2014. I got really excited when I received the notice card but also scared because I heard/read horror stories regarding the tax on books impose by the Pasay Post Office. Books are exempted to tax if its not more than 6 books PER title.
Me and BF went to EMS Pasay Office prepared to face them. I brought the copy of the Dept Order regarding the tax exemption of books. When I got there, we have to wait for my number to be called. We waited for 1 and a half hour. When I was called, I went to the inspection room. They open my package and compute for the tax. They asked me to wait again to be called to another room. There was an old man there selling snacks (near the CRs) he told me that “Kapag lumagpas ng 2k yung tax sayo lapit ka sakin.” When I was called to another room, they showed me their computation. That’s when I explained to them that books are exempted to tax according to the copy of the Dept Order 57-2011 and the Florence Agreement (with highlights and everything) that I brought. That its for personal use etc. However, they pointed out that it was more than 6 books. They even told me that the Harry Potter books are all the same! One lady even told us “Marunong pa kayo samin”. Grabe lang inis ko nun.
We went home with nothing.
The next few weeks, I researched about the tax on books and who should I tell my concern. Salamat FB and IG friends! 🙂
I tweeted @mlq3 first then he mentioned @pcdspo. PCDSPO asked me to email them. I asked both of the accounts if my Harry Potter Boxed Set (7books) should be taxed. And they answered me that books are not taxable and that my Harry Potter books are tax exempted.
They forwarded my email to these email adds
Then I think the BoC forwarded my email to Pasay Post Office. I went back to the post office and went straight to their room. I talked to someone told my name. Yea! He knew me (because of the email)! I tried again to tell him that books are tax exempted but he told me that theres no need for my explanation. He asked someone to get my books and asked me to pay for 100php for the storage fee. He even asked me if “Sino ba kapit mo?” And I was like “Huh?!”. Ang sarap sabihan na Lolo ko kasi si Fidel V. Ramos at Tito ko si Manuel Quezon 🙂 :)(Joke lang..di kami related)
From then on, sinumpa ko na yang Customs at Post Office na yan. Pero parang gusto kong ulitin para mairecord mga palusot nila. Mag antay lang kayo, pag nagsale ulit ang Harry Potter boxed set baka sipagin ako 🙂
P.S. The part with the erasure was the discounted “tax” for 700php the guy erased it when I said I don’t want to pay for it.”
Ramos advised netizens to be aware of their rights and the existing policies.