Thursday, May 21, 2009

Game Consoles

Video Game Consoles and Video Game machines

H.S. Code: 9504.10.00
Examples: Famicom, Gameboy, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, Xbox, Playstaion Portable
MFN Rate: 5%
CEPT Rate: 0%

How will you classify an article under this code?

According to the Explanatory Notes of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS):

Video game consoles and other electronic games which can be used with a television receiver, a video monitor or an automatic data processing machine monitor; video games having a self-contained screen, whether or not portable; audio visual games with electronic displays (including vertical models on legs) used in a home or game arcades, sometimes operated, for example, by coins, token, or credit cards.

Video game machines whose objective characteristics and principal function are such that they are intended for entertainment purposes (game-playing) remain classified in this heading, whether or not they fulfill the conditions of Note 5 (A) to chapter 84 regarding automatic data processing machines.

How about parts, accessories, and game peripherals?

According to Chapter 95 Note 3:

Subject to Note 1 above, parts and accessories which are suitable for use solely or principally with articles of this Chapter are to be classified with those articles.

However, optional peripherals which fulfill the conditions of Note 5(D) to Chapter 84 and which enable video game consoles to be connected to other systems, are excluded. Examples are memory cards, battery, external speakers, microphones, headsets, web cameras, digital cameras etc.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Clarificatory Guidelines for the Duty-free Importation of Books

The DOF are now in the hot seat and widely ridiculed by the blogging world for the issuance of its new policy on the importation of books. Last March 24, 2009, the DOF issued the Department Order 17-09 titled, "Clarificatory Guidelines for the Duty-free Importation of Books".

That is quickly followed by importation of books FAQ.

What does it says?

1. Only books that are educational, scientific and cultural materials listed in Annex A to E in the Florence Agreement and not for sale, barter or hire has 0% duty. The one who will determine and certify that the books falls under the Florence Agreement is UNESCO.

> When you purchase books or other materials online (must not be in commercial quantity), you must now need a certificate from UNESCO addressed to the DOF that the book you are importing is educational, scientific or cultural.

>ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES!!! UNESCO is functioning as a regulating agency for the Philippine government. BTW, UNESCO is an NGO! Pero ok na din kaysa nmn ang BOC mag determine!

2. The economic, technical, vocational, scientific, philosophical and historical books that is not for sale, barter or hire which is duty and vat free as mentioned in Section 105(s) of the TCCP will need certification from DepEd or CHED.

> Yes! May bagong pagkakakitaan na naman ang DepED at CHED.

The duty and vat free imported books which can be sold, bartered or hired under RA 8047 are only those books solely used for book publishing. When our congress people wrote the law, the intention was to promote the book publishing industry daw.

>WTF?!! First of all why will somebody import books for book publishing? Parang sinabi nila na yung user's manual lang sa paggamit ng printing press at book binding ang duty at vat free.

4. Books are still vat free but you need clearance from DOF -.-". According to the DO:

The guidelines herein provided do not cover the treatment of imported books for Value-Added Tax (VAT) purposes as section 109(r) of the 1997 Tax Code, as amended, provides that the importaion of books is VAT-exempt, though applicant /importer still needs to secure DOF confirmatory-exemption clearance for this purpose.

5. If you import books that is for sale, barter or hire, then it is subject for duty. 1% for educational, scientific, cultural, economic, technical, vocational, philosophical, and historical books. 5% for other books.

> This one is really confusing. How will you say a book is not educational? Base on their definition:
Educational books - consisting essentially of textual matter of any kind, and printed in any language or characters. This includes textbooks including educational workbooks sometimes called writing books, with or without narrative textx, which contain question or exercises. Such books, with or without narrative texts, which contain questions or exercises. Such books may be bound (in paper or with soft or stiff covers) in one or more volumes, or may be in the form of printed sheets comprising the whole or a part of the complete work and designed for binding. Educational books are instructive and informative books; it relates to teaching and learning. Examples: Textbooks, workbooks, writing books for grade school, high school and college students and used as a basis for study in the academe.

From my point of view that according to their definition, all books are educational, even fictional books like Twilight. Heck, even tantric texts like Kama Sutra is educational.

If fictional books are not educational then why are we required in school to pass book reports.

Why do we even have a subject in college called world literature?

Honestly, what kind of brains does DOF people have? Why are we encouraged and sometimes required to read works like Tom Sawyer, Odyssey, Count of Monte Cristo, The Alchemist and many more. Maybe 'Twilight' is a special case because they think that books that contains mythological characters is not educational.

Also, it is not stated in the Florence Agreement that it should be books for personal use only that is duty and vat free

Book publishing industry? How about the retail stores? Aren't they a domestic industry also?

Tips for my fellow countrymen: say goodbye to Fully Booked and National Bookstore and say hello to and