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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 04, 2012


DOF declares all imported books tax-free

by Susan G. de Leon

MANILA, Jan 4 (PIA) -- Book lovers, rejoice!

The Department of Finance has declared that all books imported into the Philippines, whether for personal or commercial use, are tax-free.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima recently signed an order declaring duty and VAT-free status of imported books, and detailing guidelines covering clearance procedures from customs.

Department Order No. 57-2011 states that all imported books, whether for commercial or personal use with the exception of those published by or for a private commercial enterprise essentially for advertising purposes as stated in Annex A of the Florence Agreement, are exempt from customs duties.

The Order also states that importation of books is likewise exempt from value-added tax (VAT) pursuant to Section 109 (R) of the National Internal Revenue Code.

The UNESCO Florence Agreement, which was signed by the Philippines, waived tariffs on books and other printed materials in order to facilitate the free flow of educational, scientific, and cultural materials.

Commercial book importers, under the DOF Order, are required to present an endorsement from the department's Revenue Office so it can be exempted from duties and VAT on books and other materials.

The endorsement will only be issued after book importers submit the following: bill of lading/ Airway bill /Postal registry notice with BOC Tentative Assessment Sheet; commercial invoice; packing list with title of books; authority of representative (in lieu of consignee); affidavit to the effect that the shipment consists of books; and in case of donated books – Deed of Donation duly authenticated by the Philippine Consulate abroad, and Deed of Acceptance.

Book importers are also required to submit certification from the UNESCO Office in the Philippines attesting that the importation/s is/are covered by the Florence Agreement; and Certificate of Registration with the National Book Development Board as book importer or publisher.

Individuals, who import books for personal use whether as accompanied baggage or through couriers or post office, do not need to secure an endorsement from the DOF Revenue Office.

However, the order clarified that these importations should be cleared and released through the required declaration of goods under existing regulations.

The DOF order also clarified that books considered for personal use means quantities that do not exceed 12 copies of any one work when imported by an institution or six copies of any one work when imported by an individual.

In 2009, the Department of Finance, imposed duties on book importation and since then the Bureau of Customs started imposing a 1 percent import duty on educational books and 5 percent duty for non-educational books.

However, the DOF order dubbed as “book blockade of 2009” was revoked after widespread criticism. (DOF/RJB/SDL-PIA NCR)

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