The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has said it will continue to require registered business enterprises (RBEs), including information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) firms, to employ their employees onsite.
Finance Assistant Secretary Juvi C. Danofrata, who is also the head of the FIRB secretariat, said in a statement on Thursday that the work-from-home (WFH) system previously enjoyed by RBEs was a time-limited measure that would expire if quarantine conditions were eased.
“Given the growing vaccination rate of Filipinos across the country, we can now take precautionary measures against employee physical reporting. In fact, the President has instructed all government agencies and materials to comply with the 100% On-Site Workforce Rules approved by Alert Level 1, ”said Mrs. Danofrata.
“The government has taken significant precautions to address the epidemic concerns in order to balance the needs of the economy and health needs. However, we believe that the current situation allows us to direct our policies towards a complete restart of our economy, “he added.
Under FIRB Resolution 19-21, registered IT-BPM companies can still implement WFH arrangements up to 90% of their workforce while enjoying tax incentives. However, with the resolution expiring on April 1, employees have been instructed to return to work onsite.
According to Mrs. Danofrata, the FIRB is accepting requests to continue flexible or off-site work arrangements for the IT-BPM sector while enjoying their tax holidays. He said tax breaks are a special benefit of the RBE working in special economic zones or freeports.
He said registered projects or activities should be carried out within the geographical boundaries of the economic zone (ecozone) or be eligible for revenue incentives, such as those provided under Republic Act No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Amended National Internal Revenue Code. Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
Ms. Danofrata said tax incentives are given to priority projects or activities located between Ecozone and Freeport, which were established to promote export activity and allow free flow of goods and services, including IT-BPM services, across the region.
“Under the law, allowing companies to conduct their activities while enjoying their tax incentives from their home or anywhere outside the zone territory is a total disregard and a violation of the above provisions of the law,” said Mrs Danofrata.
Recently, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority announced that it would allow registered companies to operate 70% on-site and 30% WFH systems in the face of a government office order.
Asked to comment, Emman D., co-convener of the Alliance of Call Center Workers. David said in a chat that the government should go back to the full WFH system in order to detect coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Country
“With the advent of the COVID-19 BA.2.12 Omicron sub-variant, we urge the government to restore the home-based setup to what it was before the expiration of FIRB Resolution 19-21. This will curb the spread of the virus and protect civilians from illness and possible death, “said Mr David. – Reverend Mikhail D. Ochav