As more companies choose to adopt work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, existing registered business enterprises (RBEs) in the information and technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector may now transfer their existing registration with the Board of Investments (BOI) until December 31, 2022. Under the guidelines released by the Department of Trade and Industry in Memorandum Circular No. 22-19 on October 18, 2022, IT-BPM RBEs, such as those registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and other investment promotion agencies (IPAs), have until year-end to transfer their registration to the BOI. The transfer applies to IT-BPM RBEs with existing tax incentives under Section 311 of the Tax Code or those with approved tax incentives until September 14, 2022.
This comes as a welcome development by IT-BPM RBEs who have been looking for clarity on how they can implement WFH arrangements, maintain their tax incentives, and keep their business going. Previously, IT-BPM RBEs, especially those required to operate within economic zones (ecozones), were allowed to implement WFH arrangements at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at the risk of losing tax incentives, only 30% of these RBEs’ workforce are allowed to be under WFH starting January 1, 2023.
The said IT-BPM RBE shall file its request with its originating IPA (i.e., PEZA) by filing the Request to Register with BOI Form. The same shall be submitted by the IPA to the BOI together with the RBE’s original Certificate of Registration (COR) and terms and conditions thereof.
After endorsement and payment of the applicable registration fee of P2,250.00, the BOI shall issue a new COR, which shall include the remaining tax incentives of such RBE. The RBE’s original COR shall also be annotated to include the new registration with the BOI.
The remaining tax incentives of the transferring RBEs shall continue until their lapse under the original terms and conditions of registration. However, after the lapse of the remaining tax incentives, the said RBE shall not be entitled to any more tax incentives unless its activity qualifies as a new investment or qualified expansion under the Strategic Investments Priority Plan.
In the period of its remaining tax incentives, submission of the usual compliance requirements by the RBEs and monitoring thereof shall still be made through the originating IPA. RBEs shall still be required to submit their usual compliance requirements with its originating IPA, and not with the BOI. The applicable terms of its original registration, as well as applicable rules and regulations, shall still be followed by the RBE for the duration of its remaining tax incentives; otherwise, penalties may be imposed and/or registration may be cancelled by the BOI.
Within 30 days from the issuance of the BOI COR, RBEs are required to submit the list of equipment and/or other assets that are brought out of freeports or economic zones, including their acquisition cost, book value, and year of acquisition. The total number of employees under the WFH arrangement shall also be submitted. Within five (5) days at the end of every month, the RBE shall also submit a report containing the additional equipment or assets brought out of the economic zones and the total number of employees under the WFH arrangement.
As opposed to previous regulations on the movement of capital equipment within and outside the economic zones, the present regulation provides that no bond shall be posted or imposed on the movement of capital equipment within and outside the free ports or economic zones.
Should the said RBE cancel its registration, it shall first file a request with the originating IPA for evaluation and assessment of refund/penalties, where applicable. Thereafter, the RBE shall also surrender its BOI COR together with the letter of cancellation from the originating IPA.
Please be guided accordingly.
P&A Grant Thornton
Certified Public Accountants
P&A Grant Thornton is the Philippine member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd.
As published in SunStar Cebu, dated 17 November 2022