Doing Customs Duty Fees the Right Way
Updated: 2019-04-04T02:42:58Z
minute read

I've recently bought a second-hand camera from an eBay seller in Kyoto, Japan. I usually buy stuff online but it was my first time to buy an item where the customs fee is not covered.

Customs Duty Fees

"Aerial View of Cargo Ship" by Tom Fisk is licensed under CC BY

Given the fact that this was my first time and I've heard so many bad news about our customs department. I need to arm myself with the knowledge of how these fees work.

You need to pay two fees

  • Standard Package Handling Fee – Php 112
  • Customs Duty Fee – This fee varies depending on the kind of item being imported, weight, and size.

Calculating the Customs Duty Fee is the tricky part and where the corruption can be inserted. This is the part where I need to know how to do it to avoid being duped.

Customs Duty Fee Variables

  • Total Cost of the item in the currency where the item was bought.
  • Insurance Fee – 2% for regular items and 4% for dangerous items
  • Freight Cost
  • Item Dutiable Percentage – Depending on the type of item
  • Documentary Stamp Fee
  • Value Added Tax of 12%

How to Calculate?

Below is the example based on the camera I bought.

Item Name: Fujifilm Finepix S1 Bridge Camera
Item Price: 299 US dollars
Country of Origin: Japan
Destination Country: Philippines
Shipping Fee: 0

  1. Customs will identify the kind of item being shipped if it is a dangerous item or not. A camera is obviously not a dangerous item. So they just pegged a 2% insurance for it. (US299 x 2% = 5.98)
  2. The item price will be converted to Philippine Peso. The exchange rate when I claimed the item was 52.542. ((US299 + Insurance5.98 + Freight0) x Php52.542 = Php16,024.25)
  3. Customs will then find the dutiable percentage on their tariff book. Visit this link and find the item's category. *** Refer to the images below ***
  4. They will calculate the Dutiable tax. (Php16024.25 x 5% = Php801.21)
  5. Documentary Stamp Php30.
  6. Value Added Tax. ((Php16024.25 + Php801.21 + Php30)) x 12% = Php2,022.65)

Step 3 Images:

My Item category falls into this section.
Tariff Book
Clicking the link (Chapter 90) will open a pdf file which contain dutiable percentage. The camera has a dutiable fee of 5%.
Tariff Item Category

Total Customs Fee

Customs Duty Fee: Php801.21
Value Added Tax: Php2,022.65
Documentary Stamp: Php30

TOTAL: Php2,853.86 rounded to Php2,854.00


  • My total Customs Duty Fee was Php2,854.00 which I paid in the Customs Cashier Office.
  • The Standard Handling fee of Php112.00 which I paid in the PhlPost Cashier Office.
  • My total payment just to retrieve the camera was Php2,966.00.
  • If your item reaches the weight of 1kilo there will be a fee of Php1200. The succeeding kilos will be charged Php400.
  • If your item also reaches their length and height limit then there will also be a fee. Unfortunately, I was not able to ask how much.

If your item is covered by excise tax then this will also be added in the customs duty calculation. Make sure that you take this into account.

Given this information, no wonder the total customs fee can sometimes be the same or over the total cost of the item. Also, when corruption kicks in then you can expect to pay a much larger amount. However, if you have the right information and knows how to calculate the fees, then at least you are armed and will be able to fight for what is right.

Hope this little article can help someone out there.

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