By Jun Ramirez
The government’s financial assistance to employees of small businesses which temporarily closed due to the enhanced community quarantine will be limited to those who have not received their pay since last month, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said on Friday.
Likewise, employees are not qualified to participate in the so-called Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program if they have already received monetary aid from other government offices like the Department of Labor and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Revenue Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel Guballa stressed that the financial support are exclusively for workers registered with the bureau and the Social Security System (SSS).
Workers have until April 30 to submit the subsidy application with the bureau.
Under the guideline, employers are required to secure from the BIR the list of their workers qualified to get the benefits by visiting its website at www.bir.gov.ph for instructions.
Once the BIR certification is issued, the employer will then proceed to the SSS website at sss.gov.ph. The SSS will process the application and directly release the funds to the bank accounts of the employees.
The SSS will notify the employers about such releases if their workers have no bank records.
Some 3.5 million employees will receive between P5,000 to P8,000 each from the SBWS program which secured P51 billion in contributions from various government agencies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The wage subsidy covers the months of March and April.
Revenue officials would not say if the same assistance will be extended, but said it would likely depend on the lifting of travel restrictions and availability of funds.
The government will shoulder all service expenses for the transfer of funds to recipients who included those working in groceries, repair, barber and tailoring shops as well as factories not classified as large taxpayers.
Meanwhile, the BIR extended further the deadline for for the filing of 2019 income tax returns (ITRs) from May 15 to May 30.
It was the second extension to correspond to the stretching of the Enhanced Community Quarantine period scheduled to end this month.
This way taxpayers will have more time to prepare and file ITRs, implementing properly the physical distancing measure to ward off the spread of the deadly virus. (Jun Ramirez)#