One spring afternoon nearly 2,000 years ago, a Roman centurion watched three men die slow, agonizing deaths. That soldier especially noted one of them — Jesus Christ. Jesus had been nailed to a wooden stake. The midday sky blackened as the moment of his death approached. When Jesus died, the earth shook violently, and the soldier exclaimed, “Certainly, this man was God’s Son.”
God’s Son! That soldier was right. He had just witnessed the most important event ever to occur on earth. On earlier occasions, God himself had called Jesus his beloved Son. Why had Jehovah allowed his Son to die? Because this was God’s means of saving mankind from sin and death.
By this time, many people have already made plans to commemorate the death of Jesus. Such a memorial falls this year on April 19, which is known to some as Good Friday. On this day, faithful believers do well to remember the reason behind the greatest love story ever told — the love of God and His Son for mankind. Jesus’ death provided the only basis to redeem mankind from the effects of inherited debt — human imperfection.
Interestingly, even in a corporate setting, there are business transactions that also require redemption. For instance, noncompliance with reportorial requirements definitely needs an act of grace from the government allowing entities to right a wrong committed. Happily, the present administration has been extending its merciful arms.
Discussions on the Tax Amnesty Act, which was signed on Feb. 17, have saturated the Internet and various media outlets. On April 5, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 4-2019, which implements the law and provides guidelines on processing tax amnesty application on tax delinquencies.
Under RR No. 4-2019, all persons, whether natural or juridical, with delinquent internal revenue tax liabilities covering the taxable year 2017 and prior years may avail of tax amnesty on delinquencies within one year from the effectivity thereof, provided that they meet certain criteria. The tax delinquency of those who avail of the tax amnesty on delinquencies under the regulations, upon full compliance with all the conditions, shall be considered settled. The criminal case in connection therewith and its corresponding civil or administrative case, if applicable, shall be terminated. Consequently, the entity will be able to redeem its clean-slate BIR status for the covered periods.
Still, there are other compassionate government moves that may not be as popular as the amnesty law. An example is Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Circular No. 1030, which was signed by the BSP Governor on Feb. 5. Based on BSP confirmation, BSP Circular No. 1030 took effect on March 8.
Generally, inward investments need not to be registered with the BSP, unless the repatriation of capital and/or the remittance of related earnings in pesos thereon shall be funded with foreign exchange (forex) resources of authorized agent banks (AABs)/AAB forex corps. Inward foreign investments are made by non-residents in the form of (a) foreign direct investment; (b) foreign portfolio investment; and (c) other investments. Applications for registration shall be filed within the one-year prescriptive period to be reckoned from the date of supporting documents or occurrences of a certain event, as may be applicable. A Bangko Sentral Registration Document (BSRD) shall evidence the BSP registration of investments.
Previously, there were instances where applications were not filed on time for reasons such as inadvertence, misinformation, or lack of guidance on the part of the company’s personnel or service provider. For failure to file within the prescriptive period, the BSP has denied such applications. The responsible officers undeniably need a basis to reclaim whatever prestige was lost on account of such denial.
The much-awaited hope has arrived. BSP Circular No. 1030 provides that applications for registration shall be free of charge if made within the reglementary timetable. Applications filed beyond the prescriptive period may still be accepted and facilitated subject to the payment of a P10,000 processing fee for each BSRD issued, as indicated in Appendix 20 of the FX Manual. Such processing fee shall be paid before the actual release of the BSRD.
More importantly, for existing investments that are unregistered as of the effectivity date of BSP Circular No. 1030 on March 8, applications for registration may be filed with the BSP within one year from such effectivity date. This is regardless of the date of funding; the applicant will no longer be required to pay a registration fee. For this type of application, the BSP is lenient on the nature of supporting documents that can be submitted in view of the passing of years. However, it is best to present the required documents stated in Appendix 10.A of the FX Manual, if still available.
Undoubtedly, the BIR regulations and BSP circular serve to encourage entities to come out in the open and partake of the table of kindness while it lasts.
No matter how significant the challenges, whether personally or in a corporate environment, the world still abounds with reasons to be grateful and it is inexcusable not to notice them.
As we go on holiday, may we look for the goodness surrounding us, especially that the tax busy season will soon be over. We can appreciate nature, look forward to the company of our family and friends, or enjoy being in solitude.
This weekend creates an opportunity to meditate on the reason behind the greatest love story and will help us appreciate Jesus’ loving sacrifice of giving his perfect life for humanity. After all, Jesus commanded us to “keep doing this in remembrance of me.” — Luke 22:19.
Let’s Talk Tax is a weekly newspaper column of P&A Grant Thornton that aims to keep the public informed of various developments in taxation. This article is not intended to be a substitute for competent professional advice.
Renato R. Balisacan, Jr. is a manager from the Tax Advisory & Compliance Division of P&A Grant Thornton, the Philippine member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd.
As publsihed in BusinessWorld, dated 16 April 2019