22 May 2020

As Metro Manila, Philippines has been on lockdown/enhanced community quarantine (“ECQ”), business operations and movement of individuals have been significantly restricted. Except for industries which are allowed to operate during the period of quarantine, such as manufacturers and distributors of medicines, medical equipment/devices, and other essential goods, businesses were mandated to either close down or adopt a work-from-home operating arrangement. Meanwhile, most government offices are operating under a skeletal workforce.

Thus, to ease the burden on individuals and private enterprises, Republic Act No. 11469, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, mandated the movement of statutory deadlines and timelines for the filing and submission of documents, and the payment of taxes, fees, and other charges required by law.

Implications for business in the Philippines

The usual recurring reportorial requirements for corporations in the Philippines are the annual income tax return (“ITR”), the audited financial statements (“AFS”), and the general information sheet (“GIS”). The Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) have accordingly extended the deadlines for submission as follows:

Type of Form/DocumentOriginal Deadline[1]New Deadline[2]
e-filing and e-payment of Annual ITR for corporations, partnerships, and other non-individual taxpayers subject to regular income tax15 April 202014 June 2020
Submission of hard copy of the AFS to the BIR30 April 202030 June 2020
Submission of the AFS to the SEC15 April 2020For those with purely domestic operations: 30 June 2020, subject to staggered filing[3]

For those with domestic and foreign operations: 30 June 2020 or 60 days after the lifting of travel restrictions and other measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever comes later.

Submission of the GIS to the SECWithin 30 calendar days from the date of the annual shareholders’ meetingNo extension but the SEC allowed alternative means of filing (i.e., courier, mail, or e-mail) and has dispensed with the notarial requirements

The BIR has existing facilities for electronic filing and electronic payment of taxes. The SEC, on the other hand, has allowed alternative means of filing during the ECQ. For companies who wish to submit during the period covered by the ECQ, they may do so via private courier, mail, or electronic mail. Electronic signatures may be used and reports may be submitted unnotarised. However, the SEC may require the submission the physical copies of submissions made through e-mail once the state of public health emergency or the ECQ has been lifted.

The complete list of the statutory deadline for taxes may be accessed in the BIR’s official webpage here. A summary of the guidelines for filing of reports and documents with the SEC can be found here.

Companies doing business in the Philippines are advised to avail of the alternative means of filing and to timely submit the required reports/documents to avoid the imposition of penalties and surcharges.

If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Felix Sy or Aubbrey Lim of Insights Philippines Legal Advisors (a member of ZICO Law).

This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.

[1] For entities with fiscal year ending 31 December 2019.

[2] As of 20 May 2020.

[3] All corporations, including branch offices, representative offices, regional headquarters and regional operating headquarters of foreign corporations shall file their AFS through SEC Express Nationwide Submission (SENS) using Courier or Philippine Postal Corp., depending on the last numerical digit of their SEC registration or license number in accordance with the following schedule:

June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 : 1 and 2

July 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 : 3 and 4

July 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 : 5 and 6

July 27, 28, 29, 30 : 7 and 8

August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 : 9 and 0