No more taxes for purchases below P10k BUT…

Sometime last October, the Colourpop Cosmetics website offered free international shipping for a day with no minimum purchase. I of course scrambled to order some of their much coveted lipsticks. Colourpop lipsticks cost an average of US$5+ each. But since they don’t have a legit distributor in the Philippines, resellers or biyaheras sell them for double the US SRP. I wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass me by so I ordered a set of 3 full-sized lipsticks for US$15.

Now prior to ordering, I read from Yugatech and Chuvaness’ blogs that there’s a new law in place that exempts goods worth P10,000 and below from custom duties and taxes. You can download the PDF file of Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 02-2016 which covers imported goods with De Minimis (minimal) value HERE. This law came into effect last October. Before this was implemented, the De Minimis value was P10. Import anything over P10 in value and you get taxed.

I’ve been a victim of ridiculous customs taxes in the past. Several years ago when I was still running an anime website, a DVD retailer sent me an anime DVD to review. I was charged P1,200 in taxes even if the declared value of the DVD was only US$10 and it was marked as a sample with no commercial value. How can the taxes be higher than the declared value of the DVD? The guy showed me a computation I couldn’t quite understand with the total P1,200 encircled underneath.

Colourpop CosmeticsAnyway, moving on to the present, I ordered a set of lipsticks from Colourpop Cosmetics last month. It was shipped out November 26. I got the postal notice December 16. Not bad. I went to the Quezon City Central Post Office to claim it. It was pretty hassle-free. The customs guy said he would be opening my package to check the contents. I just shrugged and said sure go ahead. I knew there was no way in hell they could allege that 3 lipsticks must’ve cost over P10k lol.

FDA PhilippinesAh but the customs dude told me he wasn’t checking if my small package contained P10k worth of items. He was checking if I went over the prescribed limit for the number of lipsticks I imported which was 10. The FDA-DOH has placed certain limits with regards to the quantities of personal effects you can buy / bring in from abroad. You can download the complete memo HERE. I only ordered a set of 3 lipsticks so I had no problem. Some of the others who went wild at the Colourpop Cosmetics free shipping offer couldn’t get their stuff out though. They were told they had to secure clearance from the FDA-DOH. I don’t know how that is done. I’m just glad I didn’t over order.

Philpost EMSAfter the Quezon City Central Post Office, my next stop was Philpost near the airport. It’s where you go to claim EMS packages. I ordered some stuff from Korea last September and to my dismay, they sent it via EMS. The claiming location is so far from me I couldn’t go before December. I took advantage of our Christmas break from work and finally made the long drive yesterday.

I had a similar experience. The customs guy opened my package and asked why there was no invoice and there were no prices indicated. I said it’s because the Korean shopping site offered to send items of my choice for free so I could try out their service. They asked how much the items cost. I told them The Face Shop sells the compact here and it costs around P1k. The other item however is not available in the Philippines. He waved me off after re-sealing my box. They can’t possibly insist that my paltry package cost over P10k, right?

I even brought downloaded PDF copies of the memos in case I’d encounter problems when claiming my packages. The post offices have copies of it affixed on their walls so you don’t need to do that.

For each time I claimed a package, I only paid P112 handling fee. As long as you don’t go over the De Minimis value of P10k and don’t go over the prescribed quantities for personal use, everything should go smoothly.

I hope this helps. 🙂

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  • Reply Karen December 31, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Omg! May limit pala lipsticks? I almost bought some colourpops as well when they recently had a promo for international free shipping. This was about the same time the P10,000 de minimis thing became news. I was about to buy 3 sets, 1 regular, 2 minis, but I backed out because I was still worried baka may hidden charges pa rin. I thought I’ll just wait for feedback from others muna. Omg. Buti nalang. Thanks for sharing. Elf has been having 50% off site-wide recently so I was thinking of ordering a lot from there, too. Thank you for saving me. It’s now back to shipping to relatives in the US and waiting for them to bring the goods when they travel back to the Philippines. Haay naku.

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei December 31, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Yes, this memo from the FDA-DOH was actually posted at both the QC Central Post Office and Philpost in Pasay City. There’s a limit for everything that falls under personal use.

  • Reply michymichymoo January 1, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Medyo hassle that’s why I ordered and handcarried boxes of Colourpop when I returned to the US. LOL. I hope PH will have a better system for claiming packages na. Last time I had to go to Pasig Post Office pa (and rendered a half day leave at work) to claim. @_@

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei January 2, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      If you’re within the prescribed limits it’s hassle-free naman. 🙂

  • Reply Faith February 1, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I ordered 19 lippies! What will happen to the 9 remaining?

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei February 1, 2017 at 9:59 am

      If by some stroke of luck they choose not to open your box you’ll be okay but if they do, according to the memo excess amounts will be seized in favor of the government,

    • Reply Carla May 24, 2017 at 4:01 am

      Did you recieve your items na? I ordered 17 lippies kasi. I am worried they might confiscate the 7 lippies I bought

      • Reply Faith May 24, 2017 at 4:50 am

        I told them that satins are cheek stain.

        • Reply anne mondiguing June 20, 2017 at 7:29 pm

          Cheek stains? Did they buy it? I got a letter from customs saying that I need to provide them clearance from fda. I got about 20pcs.. how do i get this clearance? 🙁 i really was not aware of the limits 🙁 help please… 🙁

          • Bea June 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

            Oh no I’m experiencing the same thing, I’ve just only found out about this regulation and I’m freaking out thinking that they’ll confiscate the excess. I had to save up and wait for the sale so I can buy. 🙁 I don’t know what to do. Carla, Faith and Anne did you guys got your parcels already? Hoping you could share your experiences.

          • Chibi October 13, 2017 at 7:47 am

            Hi! Did you get your package and how? I also just got a letter from customs that I need to provide clearance from FDA. Please help

          • KC December 22, 2017 at 12:37 am

            Hello Anne! I have the same problem at the moment. How did you go about securing FDA clearance for your 17 lippies? Please help me!

      • Reply KC December 22, 2017 at 12:37 am

        Hello Carla! I have the same problem at the moment. How did you go about securing FDA clearance for your 17 lippies? Please help me!

    • Reply KC December 22, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Hello Faith! I have the same problem at the moment. How did you go about securing FDA clearance for your 17 lippies? Please help me!

  • Reply lariza garcia February 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    hala, and my daughter loves to order , online pa naman
    she should be aware of this
    thanks for the info

  • Reply Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen February 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I was paying a lot in taxes when I did snack swapping way back in 2009 because of the old tax law. I didn’t order nor ship international again ever since. Try ko nga ulit.

  • Reply Emiliana sison February 5, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I’ve encountered similar customs fee problems in the past. The post office personnel often ask me to pay exhorbitant fees especially if the point of origin is USA.

  • Reply Alaine February 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

    3 years ago, a blogger based in Pennsylvania sent me a beautiful handmade stationary set that I wasn’t able to claim because of the ridiculous customs fee.

  • Reply Cris Evert Lato Ruffolo February 6, 2017 at 3:53 am

    My goodness! The horrors people undergo to claim packages. My stepdaughter sent me a shirt and a cap three years ago and it never reached. I have had several horror stories in the past so I avoided PhilPost already.

  • Reply Kathleen March 17, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I bought 5 pieces of cosmetics from korea kasi and feel ko sosobra ng 1kg kasi malalaki ang inorder ko pero 5 pieces lang naman yun mga 5k ang halaga, the problem is mabibigat yung item, so what will happen po if nagexceed po sa limit na 1kg sa Assorted Cosmetics?

    • Reply Jade September 17, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      Hello! Anu nangyari sa parcel mo mam na over 1kg? nakalusot po ba?

  • Reply Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip Review - Animetric's World April 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm

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  • Reply Samantha Fernandez April 5, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    How do they weight items? Do they just add the declared weight on the packaging of thr cosmetics or ititimbang pa nila? I’m planning to order quite a number of palettes kasi.

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