The reconstituted Tax Incentives Review Board, chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, approved in 2021 the granting of tax incentives to five expensive projects with a combined investment capital of 119.5 billion pesos.

Deputy Finance Secretary Juvy Danofrata, who heads the FIRB Secretariat, said the five projects receiving tax incentives by the FIRB came from the nine applications submitted by the Board of Investments for approval.

The railway operations of the Makati City Metro project was the only project in Metro Manila to have obtained tax incentives.

The other four projects are located outside metropolitan France. These are found in Iloilo, Davao, Batangas and Pampanga and relate to cement manufacturing activities and the construction of mass housing units.

One project was disapproved, leaving three others to be decided by the council.

Danofrata said the FIRB Secretariat has continued to hold public meetings and consultations with the various investment promotion agencies and publish electronic bulletins. Among the challenges faced by APIs is their limited knowledge of the provisions of the Business Recovery and Tax Incentives Act for businesses, particularly with respect to the granting of tax incentives and the details of the company’s strategic plan. priority investment.

She said the FIRB Secretariat had held three public meetings with API staff and issued three electronic newsletters to APIs on the provisions of the CREATE Act.

Dominguez had previously commissioned Danofrata to organize a seminar with the heads of the various investment promotion agencies to provide them with the information they needed on the CREATE law.

The FIRB Secretariat launched the online incentive application system known as the Tax Incentives Registration and Monitoring System last year. Instructional videos have been uploaded to the FIRB website to guide APNs and RBEs in accessing and using FIRMS features.

Danofrata said that as of February 14, 2022, only 45 FIRMS accounts were registered in the system, reflecting its low utilization rate.

She said that the FIRB would continue to encourage the use of FIRMS among potential and existing business enterprises in investment promotion agencies, as this system is essential to facilitate the work of the Secretariat in following up on requests for tax incentives. API locators with investment amounts. less than 1 billion pesos.

The FIRB secretariat said in a report to Dominguez that it also approved 4.28 billion pesos in tax subsidies for seven government agencies and state corporations last year.

The recipients of the tax subsidies are the University of the Philippines-Baguio, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissary and Exchange Service, Small Business Corp., Government Service Insurance Corp., Department of the Interior and Local Government and l ‘Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp.

Under Republic Act 11534 or the CREATE Act, the granting of tax incentives to projects or activities registered with an investment capital of 1 billion pesos and below is delegated by the FIRB to the promotion agencies. investments.

The FIRB also has the discretion to increase this threshold amount.

Dominguez chairs the reconstituted FIRB, with Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez as co-chair.

After the CREATE Act came into force on April 12 last year, Dominguez immediately called a meeting of the FIRB, whose functions were expanded to cover not only tax incentives granted to companies owned or controlled by the government, but also those granted by investment promotion agencies and other public bodies to their respective registered business enterprises.