Importing a Car into The Philippines

Basic Info:

We are grateful to a posting in the newsgroup "soc.culture.filipino" for the information below. It should be noted that this relates only to the importation of vehicles by private individuals, retiring / returning citizens or private companies who do not enjoy any special government dispensation from import duties etc. It does not apply to members of foreign diplomatic missions / UN staff etc most, if not all, of which have duty-free status.

The information is circa 1992, but if there have been changes since then, they would have been minor. It is known for a fact that the per year devaluation remains the same, including the value added tax, and gas guzzler tax. For confirmation of the full present regulations we recommend you contact your nearest Philippine Embassy / Consulate.


"A few years ago we invited the BIR representative from the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco to conduct a seminar for Filipino-Americans going back to the Philippines after retirement from the military. Here are some of the information we gathered (some of the information may have already been revised)

1. Before shipping your car to the Philippines you have to file an application permit with the RP BIR in Washington DC. The filing fee is $50.00

2. The BIR then will assess your vehicle and let you know how much import taxes you have to pay prior to your shipping the car.

3. The import taxes were as follows:

a. New - 100% duty on the value of your car (If value is $20K then duty is $20k plus other duties such as VAT, gas guzzler tax, etc.

b. less than 2 yrs old - 90% of car valuation ($20K X 90%)

c. less than 3 yrs old - 80%

d. less than 4 yrs old - 70%

e. less than 5 yrs old - 60%

and goes on to 10 yrs old or 10% of value when brand new.

The regulations may have changed because of the anti-junk cars provisions included in the import law. Some have said that they have limited the importation to up to 5 years old only.

So in essence, for a 5 yr old, 1993 Honda which you bought for $20K will cost you, approximately $12,000 in import taxes. With this you have to add a special Value Added Tax, and gas guzzler tax because the engine is bigger than 1.6 ltr. No special tax on diesel engines are assessed however on passenger cars. It is not impossible for you to pay close to $14,000 in import duties to ship this car. You may call this highway robbery, and it sure is. But you have to remember that for every car anyone imports to the Philippines, one local car is not sold. In other words, the duties are stiff for the protection of the local car industry.

I heard from rumor central that the import taxes will be lowered down to 25% in 1998 because the local car industry (those assembled locally) can now compete on an equal basis with any imports. Also the stiff duties are scheduled to be severely reduced or eliminated in 2002 because of the GAT agreement.

My friends who shipped cars to the Philippines have paid $8,500 on a 1989 Volvo 240 three years ago, and $9,600 for a 1990 Honda Accord.

If you truly love your car and it's free from defects, it sure is worth to ship it to the Philippines. On the other hand, $12,000 dollars (P468,000) will buy you a nice used car in the Philippines without the headaches of importation. And yes, it has A/C, and A/T, but may have no power locks, etc.


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