Just 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:
- http://pgenrestories. .com/journal/item/815/The_Great_Book_Blockade_of_2009