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DOF, FIRB asked to extend deadline for BPO WFH bid

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THE chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means is appealing to the Department of Finance and the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to extend the deadline for business process outsourcing companies to submit requirements for shifting from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to the Board of Investments, so that they can keep their tax incentives under the CREATE law “and retain work-from-home jobs.”

Citing PEZA, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said only about 41 percent of them made it to submitting their requirements on time.

Salceda is proposing that the deadline be extended to January 31, “as many compliance and audit personnel and companies might be on vacation.”

“Some 640 firms have not yet submitted their requirements. That means, they have to stop work-from-home and return fully onsite, or they will lose their tax incentives,” he said.

“PEZA also needs more time, because they have so far been able to process around 70 percent 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, said Salceda.

“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,” he added.

“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,” the lawmaker said.

Salceda added 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.”

Salceda 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,” he said.

“It is vital that the companies that have completed their applications for transfer start 2023 on a solid footing of tax certainty,” Salceda added.

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