It really isn’t over! (the Great Book Blockade… again!)

blockJust got back from the post office. Apparently, the rumors that have been swirling around for some months now are true — they’re taxing books again. The Great Book Blockade is truly not over!

I haven’t been to the post office in a while so my parcels had piled up this week– I had fourteen packages waiting for me. I had no problems with the other parcels, but as the customs official was going through the packages, they found one with a declared value of $60.

I asked the inspector if the book was tax-exempt due to RA 8047 (Book Publishing Industry Development Act) and RA 9337 (National Internal Revenue Code) Section 9 (Exemptions), and  even the proclamation Pres. Arroyo made to revoke all taxations on books back in May 2009.

He produced an official memo stating that the DOF has “temporarily suspended” the free importation of books (darnit, I should’ve gotten it photocopied).

I didn’t argue (no repeat of that incident, thank goodness) because he had the document from DOF and he was perfectly polite about it (although I think he was taken aback that I was rattling off all the book-related provisions of the Republic Acts), and the sender really did declare it at $60 (moochers, please don’t declare exorbitant amounts for the books you send abroad!). Apparently, anything above $50 is taxable, hence the $60 parcel was the only one among my packages that got flagged.

Below is the computation given to me for the book.


On top of the customs duty, there’s VAT (value-added tax on a tax?!?), and a lot of other add-on fees — the documentation stamp, BIR stamp, and the processing fee! Grrr!

I refuse to give in to the illegal taxation of books, so I just left that book on the counter. I don’t know if they’ll eventually give it to me (I’m there almost once a week), if they’ll wait for the third pick-up notice and dispose of it, or if they’ll return it to the sender.

I swear, I will vote for the presidentiable who puts an end to the Great Book Blockade!

More on the book blockade here:

17 thoughts on “It really isn’t over! (the Great Book Blockade… again!)”

  1. Whoa! That’s one hefty tax on just a book!

    Is this tax law on books in effect because bookstores in this country have lobbied for it? I don’t see why books coming in one by one through the mail should be taxed. I mean, it’s not like they are receiving cartons of it for the recipient’s sale.

  2. Hi Jo — it is in effect because DOF has no respect for international treaties and very weird notions on what reading material is supposed to be.

    I do hope we see a permanent end to the book blockade soon.

  3. HI Blooey! Will this also affect bookstores around the country? Does this mean new stock won’t be delivered unless they pay the damn tax? Will the price of books go up yet again?

  4. I read from the Sep.25 issue of the inquirer that “Ms Arroyo glibly declared that no tax would be imposed on knowledge while the bureaucrats offended by her pronouncement grudgingly complied in terms of the booksellers who resumed duty-free imports of books, while continuing their illegal extortion activities with respect to ordinary citizens.”
    Is this true? If it is then the taxes only apply to books from the post office and such but not booksellers like national and fullybooked etc….

  5. @Kathlyn- Well books are expensive in general, although I noticed that bargain prices at Book Sale have gone up over the last year.

    Re the article- I don’t know, but a random search on the internet and feedback from other Pinoy moochers shows that people claiming books at the post office do get taxed arbitrarily

  6. Aray. That’s all I can say. Aray.

    I have trouble picking up packages with the “mandatory” customs tax of 35 bucks–got a ton of books in the Pque PO. But a thousand?! Hugs.

  7. The post offices admit that they flag the names of people who receive parcels regularly. I used to get my books straight at my door, but after 4 or 5 deliveries started getting parcel notices instead. After 3 pickups (I accumulate the notices and go once a month to both mail out books and pick them up) the Customs lady at my local post office gave me the photocopied pages explaining why things get taxed. Since I only mooch one book at a time from different people, and these usually arrive in decent to poor condition, none have been taxed yet. But I have been taxed for other things – a parcel of clothes my friend mailed from Europe that were supposed to go to Ondoy victims I had to pay P2500 for.

    After that incident, I started changing my name and address format on Bookmooch – using my initials, full name, different variations, as well as switching around my city, postcode, etc. This seems to have worked as the last month I’ve started receiving my mooched books at home again.

  8. Hi Iya, I do still receive some parcels at home. The postman said it depends on the type of shipping used by the sender.

    I use two addresses as well, as i manage my cousin’s account (she’s interning at PGH) so I receive the packages for her as well

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