Claiming Your Parcel From The Philippine Post Office

Online shopping has proven itself to be a convenient means of purchasing commodities. With a simple click of a button, an item can be yours. No need to wait in line, because your purchased items will be delivered to your doorstep.

...Well, more or less.

I took a chance to buy some cellphone back covers for my Samsung Galaxy S4 in Ebay, as there aren't a lot of quirky back covers here in the Philippines. The last time I bought cellphone back covers in Ebay was during the time of my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and I can recall being happy about my purchase because they were delivered directly to my house. Thinking that it will be same this time, I continued my purchase at a couple of online stores in the UK.

Needless to say, I was quite surprised when I got this:
Fig. 1 - Claiming notice from the Post Office

This turned out to be a bit of an inconvenience for me, because
  1. The Post Office (where I am to claim my parcel) is located in the Las Pinas City Hall, which is a good 45-minute commute from my house (because I have to endure the traffic of Alabang-Zapote Road, especially hotspots like SM Southmall, Moonwalk and Casimiro before I get there)
  2. Business hours are only during the weekdays, which conflicts with my work hours
  3. There is a possibility that I have to pay fees, duties and taxes just so I can claim my 300PhP worth of stuff. Baka ang labas niyan eh mas mahal pa ang babayran kong tax kesa sa halaga ng binili ko. Pssh.

But I have no choice; I have to claim my stuff at the post office. Coincidentally, I'm currently working from home today so I decided to spend a couple of hours for this errand; babawiin ko na lang mamaya 'yung trabaho ko.


Las Pinas City Hall - View Larger Map

Below are the steps to follow, in order to claim your parcel the most convenient way possible.
  1. Study the claiming notice CAREFULLY. This piece of paper gives you information on the claiming hours and the requirements you need to present before claiming your parcel. For my claiming notice, the important points are:
    • Claiming hours are from 1PM to 5PM only. I was able to confirm with the person in the parcel claiming area that their section is closed during the weekends.
    • Bring a prinout of the invoice/ Paypal receipt
    • Bring a valid government ID (i.e. Driver's License, SSS ID etc)
    • Parcel will be returned or disposed 30 days after the first notice. I assume that there will be succeeding notices, should the first notice be ignored.
  2. Bring some cash on hand for claiming. Possible fees include:
    • Parcel Fee - PHP 50 (as of writing this entry)
    • Custom Duties - as a general rule, this will incur for accumulated parcel value of PHP 2,000, at the discretion of the Customs officer
    • E-Vat - 12% of the Custom Duties AND whatever Miscellaneous charges. Yes, this sucks. 
  3.  At the Parcel Claiming Area, present the claiming notice to the person assigned. Here you will pay the PHP Parcel Fee.
  4. Wait until the parcel is retrieved from the holding area. The post office officer has the right to open the parcel for inspection.
  5. Purchases are subjected to inspection by Customs; gifts/free items are tax-free. The Customs officer will be the one to calculate the charges. Here you will surrender your invoice print-out.
  6. If you are able to pay your Duties and taxes, the parcel will be handed over to you. Else, Customs will hold on to the item until you are able to pay the charges given to you.
 
Fig 2. Various information posted at the parcel claiming area.
Click to view the larger versions.

That's pretty much it. It shouldn't cost that much to claim the parcel, but in case you exceed the PHP 2,000 threshold on a purchased item, you might end up paying as much as almost half of the actual cost of your purchase. This being said, here are some tips I heard, which may lessen the cost without having to bribe your way out of an expensive parcel claiming experience:
  • Parcels are brought to the post office for claiming, if they are registered mail. Registered mails have the advantage of tracking the items, at a certain cost. I'm not sure if Ebay gives you the option of having your item delivered through register mail or normal mail. Normal mail can arrive directly to your doorstep, but would be harder to track if it gets lost.
  • Gift items and non-purchased items are tax-free. You would still have to pick them up at the post office (for registered mail), but you wouldn't have to subject the item to Customs inspection.
  • Do not purchase items for delivery worth more than PHP 2,000. Patay ka sa Duties niyan.
  • For multiple parcels, do not claim them at the same time if the accumulative purchase amount is worth more than PHP 2,000, as those are also subject to Duties and tax.


Fig. 3 - Parcel

Comments

  1. The problem I've had in the past is the portion that says "May be opened officially" (Fig.3). And our postal system seems to be very liberal on their definition of officially".
    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Worst part is, even though the parcel is marked as "fragile" I doubt that they have the decency to handle it with care.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Yes they did, I didn't really mind though.

      When they confirmed it to be cellphone cases, they didn't charge me with duties and tax. Dapat lang 'no.

      Delete
  3. oh i see.im really worried about them opening my package.they might find a way to tax me.is your parcel a big one?coz my friend told me that they no longer open small parcels.thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually my parcel only contained two cellphone cases.

      The post office representative advised the 2,000 Peso minimum for the parcel to be duty/tax-free, but I can't find any written rule in the Net. Sometimes discretion talaga ni Customs officer eh, kung mukhang expensive or in demand there is a higher chance na mabigyan siya ng tax. :(

      Delete
  4. just piece of advise! ask for a eeceipt on what you paid to erase the doubt that its legal and it wont go through their pocket! they were a custom employee and post office employee is just a front! so if theres negative feedback.... its on the custom coz they were the one whos in charge of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice, yes I always try to remember to ask for receipts for any government-related fees. :)

      Delete
  5. Where was your parcel sent from? And how did it take for you to get the notice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I claimed two parcels, one was from China (I think) and the other one was from the UK (I think). It took around 3 weeks before I got my first notice.

      Delete
  6. Hi, how do they distinguish if a package is a gift or not? My sister living in UK bought me a pair of secondhand Nike shoes from Ebay and had it delivered to the Philippines as Christmas gift. The pair's worth is still well over Php 2,000. Does this still count as a non-taxable gift item considering that it was not me who bought the product?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  7. Hi. Umorder ako sa site, anong invoice ipapakita ko? Kasi i didn't pay via paypal. I won $50 sa site, then binigyan nila ako ng code para yun na ung pambayad ko. So ano papakita ko na invoice in claiming the parcel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  8. Hi. Have you ever claimed books delivered from US? I want to purchase books, around 10-13 different copies. So, the box may be bulky and costs a couple of thousands (more than the Php2,000 threshold that you mentioned). I didn't want to purchase the books separately since this will mean additional shipping fee.
    I have purchased 3 books (not really bulky) from Japan before and claimed it from the Manila Post Office, I only paid Php40.

    I really need to know since couriers fee are too much :(

    Thanks in advance for your help :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  9. Yikes! Kala ko mas gagastos ka pa sa tax! :D Do they really open all parcels?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From my experience, not always - depende lang talaga sa trip ng customs. If the value of the parcel isn't that much, minsan tinatamad sila eh hehe.

      Delete
  10. ask lng po dba sabi nyo walan tax ang birthday gift... so pano po kung hiningian nila ako? ano po maganda kong gawin at sabihin? may patunay nmn po na gift yung parcel ko dhil may notes yun and ilang pictures na gawa ng asawa ko and syempre kasama na dun yung cellphone na regalo worth 24k tingin nyo ho ba kukunan parin nila ako ng tax kht birthday gift po yun?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  11. If your item was from China, May I know what did the seller used to ship your items?was it EMS or China post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  12. Hello everyone, I sent a pkg to my gf in Philippines that included 2 blouses ($24), 4 small change purses ($24) and 2 toy model airplanes ($10) from USA. Surprisingly it arrived in 1 week and she rec'd notice to pick up parcel at Las Pinas PhilPost. The parcel fee was 56 php and then post office custom officer (??) opened pkg and I suppose upon seeing all these beautiful items came up with 3500 php for custom duty. This is totally outrageous for the total value only $58.

    My gf was shocked and could not pay this fee and glad she did not have such money at that time. Why was she charged such a high custom duty?? I have descriptive receipts for all items in pkg and will send to her in hope this convinces post office personnel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated upon sending pkg in future. I saw that if purchased parcel under 2,000 php then it is custom duty and tax free.
    cheers, Joe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! My advise is that she brings a printout of the rules from the Customs webpage or somewhere official, and if ever, request a breakdown from the custom officers of the charges. I'm sure if she is doing something "illegal" she can ask for the officer's name and report to the authorities.

      Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
  13. I have experience this too a few times now. but do you think this still applies to the new customs officer this 2014? hoping so because I bought and item worth less than 2k and hoping I'll just pay 50 pesos or so for the post thingy :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been away too long! Hope you were able to receive the parcel successfully. Do share your experience so we can help each other!

      Delete
    2. Could you at the very least, answer the question regardless if you have been away for so many decades?

      Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Hi Jay,

      I do not have an answer to the question, as I've already written down all that I know about my experience in this blog.

      Cheers!

      Delete
  14. Hi. I purchased 3 bottles of supplement pills from ebay and was sent thru Taiwan Post. Total cost of the pills was around P1800. Upon checking on Philpost's website, as of Aug. 19, the item has arrived here in the Philippines. "Turn-over item to next office" was the last status of my item with the same date-Aug. 19. It's been 2 weeks now and I still haven't received the package. Do you think customs is holding my package? Will I pay tax/other fees aside from the usual P50 for storage fee? Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  15. By the way, I've been purchasing online thru ebay and aliexpress for a few years now. Wala pa akong naranasan na magbayad ng tax/other fees aside from the P50 storage fee. Bought a film camera worth almost P2k, last year, storage fee lang naman binayaran ko.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miski first notice, di mo pa nakukuha? Same pa rin yung ginamit mo na delivery address as before?

      Only variable I can think of that might affect the delivery time is the congested ports. As I understand some deliveries do end up late because of this. Dagdag mo pa siguro yung 1-lane truck rule that they will be implementing today.

      Delete
  16. Hi , i won a shoes from a giveaway and it should be expected to reach in the phil. 2-4 weeks from now, is there something i should pay for, in order to claim it?, and how much do you think it would cost me all in all, i have no idea in claiming a package, and dont have enough money if the fee would reach 1k is there something i could be lessen the fee please help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ideally if the package is marked as a gift item, no duties will be charged because you don't have a receipt to present where they should base the duties from. But there is a chance that you'll still pay the parcel fee + eVAT... Shouldn't cost more than 200 pesos. Good luck! Do inform me how it goes.

      Delete
  17. Hi! I bought a device online for $200+ (inclusive of shipping) and I was wondering what the approximate tax would be. Any ideas? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dan try this calculator. rate of duty use 0.1 for 10%. http://customs.gov.ph/references/tax-computation/tax-calculator/

      Delete
  18. FYI lang po. PTCC has increased from P40 to P100. I ordered a $41 item from china, about 1850 in php. I went to alabang post office to claim it and the custom there is charging me duties to claim it. Custom officer Carlota Caberto says they don't honor the P2000 worth tax free rule. Says everything should be taxed. I've ordered online a couple of times 2 years ago and clarified with them na tax free if it's below P2000. Pero hindi na daw ganun ngayon. Im not sure kung gusto lang ba nila talaga maningil. I also cannot find any article online about items below P2000 to be tax free. Please help guys. Ive been searching online. It would help if someone would post here where to find it so we can print it out and show to the post office. I didn't claim my package yet hoping I can waive that fee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.philippineconsulate.com.au/bringing-of-personal-effects-into-the-philippines.html

      The Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) mandates that all items brought into the Philippines are subject to import duties. Items, including used items, brought to the Philippines as parcels mailed through the Australian Post or sent through courier services (LBC, DHL, Fedex, etc.) are subject to tax.

      Delete
  19. I've bought stuff from Aliexpress (five different orders) and I received two notices today.. It'll be my first time to claim in the Las Pinas Post Office (I've been claiming in Pque office for my work, and it's easy and cheap. We pay either 15 and 165 or one of each only)..

    The stuff I've bought are for gifts and my sister's party.. Their worth ranges from 600 pesos to 1800.. how much do you think we'll be taxed? How much should I prepare?

    Also, re invoice or paypal, will I just bring a printed order form or transaction since I've bought it online? Thank you so much for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  20. hello po my tanong lng po ako ng padala po ung tita ko ng ipad mini 2nd hand and samsung tablet na brand new from vienna austria tanong ko lng po kung my babayaran pa po ako sa post office at gaanu katagal bago ko ma claim ung package salamat

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi.. I have a question, i bought kasi a toy model car worth $165 tapos free shipping. Pero kung iisipin mo kasama naman na talaga sa $165 ung shipping sinabi lng na free siguro para maka engganyo. Dahil there's no such thing as free naman na diba, Oxygen nga may bayad din sa mga hospitals.
    Anyway, hindi po kasi ako marunong gumamit nung calculator. Sa tingin nyo po nasa magkano kaya babayaran ko dun? Is there any chance na maka gawa ako paraan para hindi naman masyado mataas ung babayaran kasi toy car model lang naman un, sa madaling salita biktima lang po ako ng first timer bumili online abroad. Kasi naka kita ako dito same model na cheaper ng 30%40% sa binayaran ko. Please advice.. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Pagka Turn-over item to next office ano po ibig sabihin?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi, Kagagaling ko lang sa QC post office, JUST NOW. And it ruined my day. Ganito kase un, nung unang beses kong kumuha ng package hindi ako pinagbayad, tapos ngayon pinag babayad ako ng 500+ pesos. Nung kinuha ko pangalan ng lalaking taga release ng package pati yung boos nyang babae, kinuha din nila name ko para ipa blotter daw. Like wtf, anong ginawa ko sa inyo?! and at the end hindi pa din nila ni release package ko dahil gusto nila makuha padin yung 500+ pesos ko. Any comment or reactions guys?

    ReplyDelete
  24. So far, lahat ng item from different suppliers na dumaan sa post office, binabayaran ko lang ng P50. Sample lang kasi yun dinideclare ng suppliers, which is true naman talaga.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So pag free or tagged as "gift" wala nang customs fee yun? except for the 100pesos freight fee.

      Delete
    2. 50 pesos fee lang if the gift items is less then $50

      Delete
  25. I asked their twitter account. Sabi nila may customs fee daw talaga lahat ng item na pumapasok sa pinas.

    ReplyDelete
  26. i know it's pretty old. swertihan lng siguro. I order a pair of contact lenses online worth roughly 5K. tas yung girl na nauna sa kin, i'm not sure parang makeup kit ata yung binili mga 4K ata ang nasa receipt nia pero siningil sia. ang sabi pa naman ng officer ma'am kasi nag import ka, galing US itong binili mo kaya may tax. tas ako naman mega kabado, tas yung s kin binuksan lng yung box at hindi na hiningi yung receipt ko. nakita ciguro na mejo malaki box at 2 vial lng laman. from brazil ko inorder tas ayon ako pa nagtanong. sabi ko ok na po ba? wala akong tax? tas sabi ok na ayon nagmadali na ako umalis. hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  27. May napanalunan akong ukulele from hawaii worth $1,300.. sabi ng nagpadala ilalagay na lang na $650 at nakalagay na "GIFT". Palagay nyo kaya may tax parin ba un kahit gift na sya? kung meron nasa magkno kaya? salamat!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Better na wag na kamong ilagay ang value nung product. Hihingian ka nyan ng malaki.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kasi di naman daw nila kayang dayain ung systema, konsensya daw kc nila un, masyado kasi silang mabait,, buti nga 50% off na po. kahit ba may gift na nakalagay hindi nb exempted un? or kung meron man fee(tax), magkano po estimated nyo? salamat!

      Delete
    2. Last question po, usps po ang carrier,, tpos base sa tracking nasa customs clearance na nung aug.8.. ilang days pa po kaya bago nila maideliver? estimate nyo lang po? salamat.

      Delete
  29. I've sent a registered mail to Philippines to my brother. The mail was dispatched from Australia on 28th July 2015 and he managed to get it on 1st August. They asked my brother to pay 100php just for the documents? very unusual! F****king bullshit customs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is not unusual. They charge 100 pesos for the storage fee of parcels. Otherwise, the post office won't be operating anymore.

      Delete
  30. Hi... Bumili ako ng accessories on-line. Sobrang mura lang talaga niya. Sabi naman ng seller i-mark nila as gift ang items so i don't have to worry abpout the tax. Pero ilang sellers kasi ang binilhan ko. I was thinking na sabay ko na lang lahat kunin para hindi hassle sa pagpunta sa post office but I'm worried na baka ma-tax ako though $13 USD lang naman lahat ng items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May tax talaga. pero minsan pag feeling mabait sila. di ka itatax. tulad nung october 30, lahat ata ng kasabay ko, hindi nila pinatawan ng tax, ewan ko kung bakit. 15 usd yung binili kong bag eh. Maghanda ka na din ng cash para sigurado. Pwede mo naman kunin sabay-sabay.

      Delete
    2. Sir yung item ko from aliexpress worth 10.7 usd naman sana hindi mapatawan tempered glass at cover ng cp lang naman.. Matagal po ba tlga kasi china registered mail yun and tracked ko ang sabi turn to the next office pa. Magsesend kaya sila ng notice?

      Delete
    3. Yes, they will send you a notice. It really takes 3 weeks at least before you received the notice. And for the tempered glass and cellphone cover, there will probably be a tax. Sa experience ko kasi, may tax nung bumili ako ng tempered glass. pero yung sa case, walang tax. Aliexpress ko rin binili. Kung halimbawang, sa window 124 ng manila post office, baka may tax. Pero pag sa window 66 malamang wala nang tax.

      Delete
  31. Hi! i bought 2DVDs and 2CDs (4items) from Korea and the package arrived last Friday (Nov. 27, 2015, 8:33PM) so when i called EMS yesterday, (Dec.1) they told me that all packages received since Friday night will be processed yesterday since it's holiday last Monday. Btw, I called around 9:30 AM. Then when i tried tracking my package around 11am, the status changed into "PHILIPPINES, Item for Customs examination" what does this mean? do I need to go to Pasay to claim my EMS package? Or will it stay a bit longer in customs for further assessment then probably transfer it to a local post office near me? My package costs $30. Thank you so much :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Were you able to receive the notification card? Better wait for it for further updates on when/ where to pick it up.

      You should be able to find in the notification card the business hours of the Customs department in the post office. The business hours of Customs is not always the same as the business hours of the post office.

      Delete