Monday, October 12, 2009

FAQS: Donations to the Philippines

( Source: Commission on Filipinos Overseas )
1. WHO CAN DONATE? Any individual, group, or organization abroad can send donations to the Philippines. To avail of duty-free entry of donations, however, there are certain conditions and requirements that have to be complied with under existing rules and regulations governing the importation of donations. There are specific items which may be allowed duty-free entry, as there are organizations/ entities in the Philippines that are allowed to receive donations on a duty-free basis.
2. WHAT CAN BE DONATED? Goods or items which may be allowed duty-free entry by the Philippine government are the following:
Food items and non-food commodities for relief dispensing organizations;
Medicines and medical supplies/ equipment;
Books and other educational, scientific, or cultural materials;
Essential machinery and equipment, including spare parts and accessories thereof;
Essential consumer goods not available locally in times of calamities and/ or fortuitous events; and
Other articles in the interest of economic development, not included in the list of prohibited/ contraband and restricted/ regulated items issued by government agencies concerned subject to certain conditions.
3. WHO CAN RECEIVE DONATIONS FROM ABROAD? The following agencies/ entities/ institutions in the Philippines may receive donations on a duty-free basis:
Non-profit, welfare, religious, and charitable organizations which are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and duly licensed/ accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as provided for in Section 105 (1) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines;
Educational institutions accredited by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) that are enjoying tax incentives under Department of Finance (DOF) Order No. 137-87;
Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions or societies, and similar organizations duly approved by competent authorities such as DECS and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines;
Other non-profit religious and charitable institutions (except civic/ service/ cultural and scientific organizations), duly registered primary and secondary hospitals upon recommendation by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); and
Other organizations covered by bilateral or international agreements to which the Philippines is a signatory, and by Presidential decrees and other special laws.
Government agencies including local government units may also receive donations, in cash or in kind, from foreign sources for purposes relevant to their functions. The acceptance of donations from foreign governments is, however, subject to prior clearance and approval of the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (General Provisions of the General appropriations Act). Taxes and customs duties to be paid by government agencies on this importation will be subject to automatic appropriations (General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act). NOTE: Other organizations not licensed or accredited by DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), and DECS may also receive donations but they will be required to pay customs duties and taxes. . All importations of donated articles are subject to the payment of the of Value-Added Tax (VAT) unless expressly exempt from such imposition Under Title IV, Chapter I, Section 1 of the VAT law. The VAT is Equivalent to about 10% of the landed cost of the shipment.
4. WHAT ARE THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO AVAIL OF DUTY-FREE ENTRY OF DONATIONS? The documents required prior to the issuance of duty-free certification by government agencies concerned are the following:
From the Donor:
Deed of donation duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate;
Pro-forma or commercial invoice and packing list/ inventory of donated items;and
Shipping documents (bill of lading/ airway bill).
From the Donee:
Letter of request to agencies concerned for duty-free certification;
Notarized deed of acceptance and distribution plan of the recipient Endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient endorsed by the DSWD Regional Office where the NGO is based, if the recipient is a DSWD-accredited or licensed NGO.
Other documents may be requested depending on the nature of donated articles.
5. WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS OF QUALIFIED BENEFICIARIES OR RECIPIENT ORGANIZATIONS? The recipient organization is usually expected to shoulder the cost of the following:
Shipment cost from port of origin to port of entry.
Arrastre and wharfage charges. Storage fees for donated goods kept at the storage area (i.e., NAIA Cargo Terminal, Manila International Container Port, South Harbor) while awaiting release from the custody of the Bureau of Customs, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven (7) working days.
Demurrage fees (being charged by the shipping lines) for the use of the containers/ vans, if the cargo is not withdrawn within seven to ten (7-10) working days depending on the policy of the shipping agency.
Trucking fees to transport cargo from the container yard to the recipient/ consignee’s warehouse.
Customs brokerage fees, if services of a customs broker or a brokerage firm is availed of.
NOTE: If the recipient is not in a financial position to defray the aforementioned fees, the donor should be made aware that other fees/ charges will be collected on the donations upon arrival of the shipment in the Philippines.
Prospective donors who intend to ship goods/ articles/ equipment must inform the nearest Philippine Embassy/ Consulate of their intention to donate. The donor will need to provide the Embassy/ Consulate with a complete list of items to be donated, the name of donee/ recipient organization, complete address and telephone number of the recipient and the contact person in the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy/ Consulate will refer prospective donations to the CFO, which will make appropriate arrangements with the relevant agencies in the Philippines.
Upon receipt of the notice of an intent to donate from the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate, the CFO will coordinate with government agencies concerned, and the designated beneficiary to determine if the intended donations are eligible for duty-free entry and if the intended beneficiary is allowed or accredited to accept donations. The CFO will inform the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate about the requirements and obligations in connection with the intended donation.
The Philippine Embassy/ Consulate concerned will advise the donor about the eligibility of the intended donations, and the requirements for duty-free entry. If the donor decides to ship the donations, the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate authenticates the Deed of Donation. Shipment of Donation To allow sufficient time for the processing of the donation, the donor must send copies of the required documents to the recipient at least 2-3 weeks prior to the arrival of the shipment in the Philippines.
The donor must send original copies of the following documents to the recipient before the date of arrival of the shipment to the Philippines:
Deed of donation duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate
Pro-forma or commercial invoice and packing list (inventory of donated items); and
Shipping documents (bill of lading/ airway bill).
The donor must ensure that the name of consignee is identical in both deed of donation and shipping documents. More importantly, the donor must see to it that the donated shipment contains only the items in the packing list. These measures will avoid cause for problems in the processing of the donation. The donor must send in advance copies of the required documents to the recipient to allow a lead time in requesting pertinent agencies for duty-free endorsements/ clearances. The donor may send advance copies of the aforementioned documents to the CFO through the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate for purposes of coordination. The original documents should be received by the beneficiary or consignee not later than the date of arrival of the shipment in the Philippines.
Upon receipt of the advance copies of required documents from the donor, the recipient will be advised to coordinate with appropriate agencies and submit required documents. The recipient must monitor the arrival of the shipment by coordinating with the shipping by coordinating with the shipping agency. The shipping agency will usually send an arrival notice to the consignee. Processing of Donations
Upon receipt of the request of the consignee for duty-free importation, the agency concerned (DSWD, DECS, or NEDA) will recommend to the Department of Finance (DOF) that the importation be exempted from customs duties, if deemed meritorious. These agencies can also recommend denial of the request for exemption from duties and taxes if the donation does not satisfy the policy guidelines in the applicable rules and regulations. The maximum processing time of requests for duty-free importation is about 2-3 working days.
Upon endorsement of the appropriate agency for duty-free certification, the DOF will issue a clearance and will forward this document to the Central Records Division, Bureau of Customs (BOC) through its official messenger. A duplicate copy of the DOF clearance may be obtained by the consignee from DOF.
The Tax Exempt Division of the BOC will endorse the release of donation and will forward this document to the Informal Entry Division of the BOC district office concerned (South Harbor, MIPC, NAIA, etc.) The Informal Entry Division checks/ verifies, appraises and examines the donated shipment.
After the consignee complies with all the documentation and pays the fees and charges (such as arrastre, wharfage, VAT, etc.), the Bureau of Customs will release the shipment to the consignee in the presence of representatives from DSWD and the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau who will escort the donation to the designated warehouse of consignee.
Processing of donations at the BOC usually takes two to three (2-3) working days (assuming all requirements are complied with). The recipient may also avail of the services of a brokerage firm in processing the release of the donated shipment. It should be noted that tax obligations on imported donations refer to two (2) government requirements namely:
a. Customs duty under the Tariff and Customs Code; and b. Internal revenue taxes (VAT) under the National Internal Revenue Code.
Further, the Customs Code provides that in order for articles to be exempted from customs duty, the donation must be for charitable purposes, i.e., relief goods. In the case of donated goods authorized under NEDA Guidelines, the nature of the articles being donated and the prospective donee thereof will be the determining factors in the grant of duty exemption. As a matter of procedure, NEDA would nonetheless recommend the proper action to take on importation of donations brought to its attention. Monitoring
Upon release at the Bureau of Customs, the recipient will conduct an inventory of the donated shipment. An inventory report will be a part of the documents to be submitted to the government agencies concerned and to the donor.
The CFO, upon the request of the Philippine Embassy/ Consulate or the donor, will prepare a monitoring report on the donation, and provide feedback to the donor on the utilization of donated resources.


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