FIRB allows WFH for IT-BPM locators

Published September 17, 2021, 1:12 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Information Technology Business Process Management (IT-BPM) enterprises in economic zones may implement a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement until the end of the first quarter next year, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) approved.

Based on the FIRB Resolution No. 19-21, IT-BPM enterprises located within economic zones are allowed to adopt 90-percent WFH up to March 31, 2022 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Under the FIRB resolution, the WFH arrangement shall be permitted until January 1, 2022, after which a 75-percent ceiling shall be imposed until March 31, 2022.

However, if the state of calamity is extended beyond January 1 next year, the ceiling shall be maintained at 90 percent until the end of March 2022.

To recall, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte extended the state of calamity in the country until September 12, 2022.

“The policy was set by the FIRB to address the work constraints brought about by the pandemic in accordance with the provision in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act,” the board said.

CREATE law gives an IPA the authority to implement temporary measures as long as these are approved by the FIRB to help registered business enterprises (RBEs) recover from a pandemic, national emergencies, or major disasters.

Signed by Finance Secretary and FIRB Chairman Carlos Dominguez III, the memo gave RBEs in the IT-BPM sector up to September 30, 2021 to submit to their respective IPAs their total number of employees and the number of employees under the WFH arrangement.

The FIRB also ordered the IT-BPMs to submitted etailed list of the laptops, desktops, and other equipment and assets brought out of the economic or freeport zones.

“Bonds shall be posted for all equipment (e.g. desktops and laptops) deployed by the RBE to their employees’ homes, to ensure payment of taxes and duties if any such equipment is not returned to the site of the RBE after the WFH arrangement,” FIRB said.

The guidelines likewise require that within five-days after the end of each month, RBEs should submit a report on any additional equipment and other assets brought out of the economic or freeport zones, and the current total number of employees under the WFH arrangement.

The RBEs are given up to Sept. 30, 2021 to submit to their IPAs a certification that the export requirement and the number of employees will be maintained.

“Non-compliance with the conditions prescribed under FIRB Resolution 19-21 may result in suspension, withdrawal, or cancellation of tax incentives of the RBEs,” according to the memo.

The concerned IPAs, for their part, should submit to the FIRB Secretariat on or before Oct. 15, 2021, and 15 days after the end of each month, their respective lists of registered IT-BPM enterprises availing of the WFH arrangement.