DOF Suspends Taxes for Imports of COVID-19 Vaccines
The Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Thursday, February 25, the exemption of COVID-19 vaccine imports from tax and duties as the government rolls out the first batch of vaccines in the Philippines.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III noted that the importation of the vaccines will be included in DOF’s express lane or “Mabuhay Lane,” which processes tax and duty exemption applications in 24 hours.
The lane processes request faster than the standard 3-day processing for regular imports.
Dominguez added that the department will also waive the filing fees for COVID-19 vaccine applications with the Mabuhay Lane. They also allowed the use of the Tax Exemption System Online Filing Module to expedite the distribution of the vaccines.
Currently, the agencies of DOF, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are drafting tax exemption policies that will be included in the guidelines for the one-stop-shop for international donations and government-procured COVID-19 vaccines.
Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Teresa S. Habitan stated that the tax perks will result in ₱14 billion in foregone revenues from the value-added tax (VAT) of vaccine imports.
Importers applying for the Mabuhay Lane will have to pay a filing fee of ₱200 for imports worth ₱100,000 and a ₱1,000 filing fee for imports worth more than ₱1 million.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko recommended the inclusion of the COVID-19 vaccines in the Mabuhay Lane.
She stated, “We add that the Mabuhay Lane currently processes all Relief Consignments under Section 120 in relation to 121 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The Lane is expected to process all COVID-19 vaccines which may qualify as relief consignment.”