PSA: Imported books are tax-free, duty-free under certain limits, Customs says

May 31, 2023 - 6:52 PM
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Filipinos can bring home books purchased from abroad without customs duties and taxes.

In an advisory on Facebook on May 20, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) pointed out that this exemption to imported books has a limit.

“Are you planning to purchase books from abroad? Good news! You can import books to the Philippines without paying any customs duties and taxes, as long as they are not intended for advertising purposes,” BOC said.

“But take note, there are limits to the number of copies you can bring in,” it added.

In the post, the bureau listed the limits on duty-free imported books:

  • A maximum of six copies of a book from an individual importer or recipient
  • A maximum of 12 copies of a book from institutional importers or recipients

This was in accordance with Customs Memorandum Circular 142-2014. Here, customs personnel are advised about books being “unconditionally duty and tax-free” as long as they are not for advertising purposes.

Books with more than six or 12 copies can also be duty and tax-free “provided the importer presents an endorsement from the DOF (Department of Finance) Revenue Office.”

The exemption on imported books is also stated under the 1950 UNESCO Treaty called “Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Materials,” the National Internal Revenue Code and the DOF Department Order 57-2011.

This memorandum can be accessed through this link here CMC-No.-142-2014-Imports-of-Books.pdf (

Travelers who arrive in the Philippines and are carrying imported products and foreign currencies have to submit a Customs Declaration Form at the airport.

For more information about the items that should be declared, the form could be viewed on the Customs website Customs Declaration Form | Bureau of Customs.