Rules on duty exemptions for medical supplies, donated devices issued


THE Department of Finance (DoF) has approved the rules governing tax and duty-free imports of medical supplies and donated devices for use in remote learning.

In a statement Tuesday, it said Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez approved Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 12-2020, which will serve as the implementing rules and regulations for the tax-exempt import component of Republic Act (RA) No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II).

The CAO exempts importers and manufacturers from Customs duties, taxes and fees when importing medical products, equipment and supplies intended for the coronavirus containment effort.

The order also applies to devices used for online learning such as personal computers, laptops, tablets and other equipment donated to public schools, including state universities, colleges and the vocational institutions under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The exemptions will apply retroactively to include imports from June 25, or after RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan I) expired.

The DoF said Customs will refund taxes and duties paid for eligible imports cleared starting June 25, but the importer will have to obtain first a tax exemption indorsement from the DoF to avail of the tax relief.

The tax exemptions will be valid until Dec. 19.

Importers and manufacturers will have to secure regulatory clearances from agencies with supervisory authority over the imports, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Health.

The DoF said donated imports of health products with clearances will be “automatically cleared,” while those not subject to FDA’s clearance will no longer need to present a certification.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has also issued rules on the tax perks available to donors of devices for use in remote learning.

It allows donors to deduct the value of the donations from gross income, while some items are also exempt from donor’s tax and value-added tax. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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