Salceda wants BPOs to retain work-from-home option; asks DOF to extend deadline

A House leader is prodding the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to help business process outsourcing (BPO) companies retain their tax incentives under the CREATE law as well as their work-from-home jobs.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda said that the DOF and FIRB can do so by extending the deadline for BPO firms to submit their requirements for the shift from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to the Board of Investments (BOI).

“Protecting work-from-home jobs is important. It’s good for reducing traffic. It’s good for solo parents and those who need to care for other at home. It also equalizes opportunities between those living in the cities and those in rural or suburban areas like Albay," Salceda said.

“The work-from-home option is also a significant draw in for companies who may want to recruit from a more diverse talent pool. They can recruit from anywhere in the country. And recruitment in the BPO sector is tough. Retention costs are significant," added the Committee on Ways and Means chairman.

The economist-solon further argued that keeping the work-from-home option is also a cost-competitiveness measure. "God knows we need that relief, given increased power costs and the many holidays that employers need to pay for.”

He said that, as per PEZA, only about 41 percent of the BPO firms have submitted their requirements. Some 640 firms have yet to submit their requirements.

"That means, they have to stop work-from-home and return fully onsite, or they will lose their tax incentives...PEZA also needs more time, because they have so far been able to process around 70% and endorse them to the BOI,” Salceda added.

Companies only had around three months since the September issuance of the FIRB resolution allowing the shift from PEZA to BOI. Salceda was the key promoter of the compromise in Congress.

CREATE stands for Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises.

Salceda is proposing that the deadline be extended to from Dec. 31, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023 “as many compliance and audit personnel and companies might be on vacation".

He also asked the PEZA to expedite the remaining applications still bound for submission from the PEZA to the BOI.

“I am requesting the PEZA to complete submitting full applications to the BOI by the end of this month, if the deadline is not extended.

"It is vital that the companies that have completed their applications for transfer start 2023 on a solid footing of tax certainty," pointed out the Bicolano.