FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Forms and Online System
Who should create a FIRMS account?
- Businesses looking to register a new activity/project and apply for tax incentives. (Please get in touch with one of our IPAs first before creating a FIRMS account.)
- Business enterprises with at least one activity/project currently registered with an investment promotion agency (IPA) (This will be helpful for further submissions to IPAs and the FIRB later on.)
Each business enterprise may only register one FIRMS account.
How do I create a FIRMS account?
You may view our instructional video and manual here: https://firb.gov.ph/firms
What documents should be submitted through FIRMS?
As of now, FIRMS only accepts three forms:
- Form A: Business Enterprise Registration
- Form B: Activity/Project Currently Registered with an IPA
- Form C: New Activity/Project Registration (includes a page for all other documentary requirements your IPA may ask for as part of the application process)
All other reports or requirements may, for now, be submitted directly to your IPAs.
Are IPAs allowed to use its existing application forms for registration and tax incentives?
No. The FIRB shall prescribe the forms for application for registration and availment of tax incentives on a per project basis. This is for purposes of uniformity and establishing a database that will also aid the FIRB in its conduct of ex post CBA. [Rule 21 in relation to Rule 8, Section 2 of IRR]
Will the prescribed FIRB application form be available in the FIRB online system for easier access of all possible registrants?
Yes. The link to the application form shall be made available to all IPAs via an online system called FIRMS where RBEs can submit their applications for registration to the concerned IPA. [Rule 6, Section 3 of IRR]
When will the online system be accessible? How will it be used?
The Fiscal Incentives Registration and Monitoring System or FIRMS is already live and can be accessed through the FIRB website. For more information on how to use FIRMS, visit: https://firb.gov.ph/firms
Since some of the IPAs already have an online application system, can it be integrated with the FIRB online system?
Yes, the existing online systems of IPAs for registration can be used if they are interoperable with and can be linked to the FIRB system. [Rule 6, Section 3 of IRR] Alignment meetings between FIRB and IPAs are being held to discuss the interoperability of existing systems.
Help! I’ve been locked out of my account/I have forgotten my password.
You may click “Forgot Your Password” at https://www.firms.firb.gov.ph/login. A link to reset your password will be sent to your email address.
If this fails, you may contact email@example.com.
Other queries regarding FIRMS
For any other queries or concerns on FIRMS, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CREATE Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR)
When did the IRR become effective?
The IRR became effective upon its publication in the Manila Standard on June 26, 2021. [Rule 24, Section 4 of IRR]
What will the IPAs do with the applications for registration now that the CREATE IRR has been issued?
The IPAs will now have to follow the registration process under Rule 6 of the CREATE IRR.
Under the CREATE IRR, activities or projects of export and domestic market enterprises may qualify for registration under the CREATE Act provided that such activities or projects are included in the SIPP and satisfy the qualifications provided therein.
Can the IPAs immediately process applications for registration or tax incentives upon issuance of the IRR?
Yes, provided that the process and approval of applications for registration or tax incentives conform with the guidelines and conditions prescribed in the IRR. [Rule 5, Section 2 of IRR]
Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP)
Is there already a timeline for the drafting and issuance of the SIPP?
Yes. The BOI will present the draft SIPP to the Steering Committee, composed of the BOI Managing Head, representatives of the Office of the President and the IPAs, and the Chairperson of the Technical Committee of the FIRB, by October 2021. After the Steering Committee reviews the draft, it shall then give its recommendations to the BOI, which, in turn will review and give its recommendation to the President, for his approval. [Rule 4, Sections 2 and 5 of IRR]
In the absence of the SIPP, what shall be the interim SIPP?
Pending the issuance of the SIPP, the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) approved on November 18, 2020 by the President, through the issuance of Presidential Memorandum Order No. 50, series of 2020, shall serve as the transitional SIPP pursuant to FIRB Resolution 5-21. [Rule 4, Section 5 of IRR]
As proposed by the BOI and approved by the FIRB, activities under the 2020 IPP may be eligible for incentives under the Tier I classification, without prejudice to upgrade to Tiers II or III if qualified under the new SIPP.
Suppose a registered business enterprise (RBE) applied for tax incentives during the effectivity of the 2020 IPP as the transitional SIPP and the application was approved, what will be the effect if its project or activity is no longer included in the new SIPP?
The issuance of the SIPP shall not prejudice the availment of the tax incentives already granted to RBEs during the effectivity of the 2020 IPP as the transitional SIPP. [Rule 4, Section 6 of IRR]
What are the activities included per tier which will be defined under the SIPP?
The SIPP shall define the coverage of the tiers and provide the conditions for qualifying the activities. Under the law, the following activities constitute Tiers 1 to 3 [Rule 3, Section 6 of IRR]:
Tier 1 - Those that have (a) high potential for job creation; (b) take place in sectors with market failures resulting in under-provision of basic goods and services; (c) generate value creation through innovation, upgrading or moving up the value chain; (d) provide essential support for sectors that are critical to industrial development; or (e) are emerging owing to potential comparative advantage.
Tier II – Those that produce supplies, parts and components, and intermediate services that are not locally produced but are critical to industrial development and import-substituting activities, including crude oil refining.
Tier III - Include (a) research and development that result in demonstrably significant value-added, higher productivity, improved efficiency, breakthroughs in science and health, and high-paying jobs; (b) generation of new knowledge and intellectual property registered and/or licensed in the Philippines; (c) commercialization of patents, industrial designs, copyrights and utility models owned or co-owned by a registered business enterprise; (d) highly technical manufacturing; or (e) are critical to the structural transformation of the economy and require substantial catch-up efforts. [Rule 4, Section 4 of IRR]
Period of Availment
As a general rule, if an RBE fails to commence its actual operation within three (3) years from the date of registration or the date indicated in the application, the IPA or FIRB may cancel its availment of tax incentives. [Rule 3, Section 4 of IRR]
After the expiration of the period of incentives, all registered business enterprises shall pay all applicable taxes at the regular rates under NIRC of 1997, as amended and other laws. [Rule 2, Section 8 of IRR]
The FIRB shall require the payment of taxes, customs duties, and any applicable penalties thereon to the appropriate revenue collecting agency. [Rule 22, Section 4 of IRR]
Application for Registration
What happens if the applicant submitted incomplete documents for application?
The concerned IPA shall notify the applicant of the documents needed to complete its application within three (3) working days after the receipt thereof.
Upon completion of all the pertinent documents, the application shall then be officially accepted and a notice shall be given to the applicant.
If the applicant fails to complete the application within seven (7) working days from the receipt of notification from the IPA, the application shall automatically be withdrawn. This is without prejudice to the right of the applicant to reapply. [Rule 6, Section 5 of IRR]
To whom should potential investors submit their application for registration?
All applications for registration shall be filed and submitted to IPAs through FIRMS or the IPAs’ interoperable systems as they have the exclusive jurisdiction to register all projects or activities availing of tax incentives. [Rule 5, Section 2 of IRR] You will select which IPA you are registering to using FIRMS.
Should an RBE with investment capital of more than P1 billion submit its application for tax incentives directly to the FIRB?
No. All applications for registration must be filed and submitted to the concerned IPA. The registration of projects or activities is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the IPAs regardless of the amount of investment capital. The IPA needs to conduct an initial evaluation of the application and submit its recommendation to the FIRB. [Rule 5, Section 2 of IRR]
Will RBEs registered with an IPA prior to the CREATE Act still be allowed to register their registered projects or activities including qualified expansion projects?
Yes. RBEs with new projects or activities may apply for registration provided that the activity or project is listed in the SIPP or in the transitional SIPP (2020 IPP). [Rule 17, Section 1 of IRR]
Given that the President vetoed that provision in the CREATE Act that provides for the deemed approval of the application for tax incentives not acted upon within twenty (20) days from the date of submission of the application and complete relevant supporting documents to the FIRB, how long is the processing time of one application for tax incentives under the jurisdiction of the FIRB?
The application for tax incentives shall comply with the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
For registered projects and activities with investment capital of P1 billion and below which shall fall under the jurisdiction of the IPA, the total processing time shall not exceed twenty (20) working days.
For registered projects and activities with investment capital of over P1 billion which shall fall under the jurisdiction of the FIRB, the total processing time shall not exceed forty (40) working days.
When will the processing commence for tax incentives application?
Processing shall commence upon submission of complete documentary requirements as prescribed in RA 11534, its IRR and other relevant issuances. [Rule 6, Section 5 of IRR]
Will the Certificate of Registration (COR) granted to RBEs automatically entitle them to tax incentives under the CREATE Act?
No. The COR issued to business enterprises shall serve as the basis of their tax incentives entitlement. A separate application for tax incentives availment shall be filed with the concerned IPA. [Rule 7, Section 2 of IRR]
Upon verification of the compliance with the terms and conditions of the RBE of its registration, a Certificate of Entitlement to Tax Incentives (CETI) shall be issued to the applicant by the concerned IPA. [Part III, Rule 8, Section 3 of the CREATE IRR]
What is the process of evaluation in the IPA and FIRB?
IPA Level [Rule 6, Section 6 of IRR]
FIRB – Applications above P1 billion [Section 7, Rule 6 of IRR]
5. Reviews the Secretariat’s recommendation and submits its own recommendation to the Board.
6. Decides on the application and issues Board Resolution
If the FIRB disapproves a tax incentives application, will an RBE be allowed to re-apply?
Yes. The RBE may re-apply if the application for tax incentives is disapproved by the FIRB or it may appeal the decision of the FIRB to the Court of Tax Appeals. [Rule 13, Section 12 of IRR]
Power of the President to Grant Tax Incentives
What is the evaluation process under the power of the President to grant tax incentives?
- The business enterprise signifies, upon application for registration before the concerned IPA, its interest to avail of the incentives or financial support package under the power of the President to grant incentives.
- The IPA transmits to the FIRB Secretariat its evaluation report and its recommendation.
- Upon review, the FIRB Secretariat forwards its evaluation report to the FIRB Technical Committee.
- The Technical Committee evaluates the evaluation report of the FIRB Secretariat and forwards its recommendation to the Board Proper.
- Upon review by the Board Proper, and that the conditions set forth under the CREATE Act is met by the business enterprise, the Board Proper shall issue a resolution recommending the grant of incentives and the resolution shall be transmitted to the Office of the President.
[Rule 6, Section 7 of IRR]
What are the conditions for the exercise of the President of his power to grant incentives?
The exercise of the President of his powers to grant incentives shall be based on the positive recommendation of the FIRB upon satisfactory determination of the following:
What will happen to the incentives afforded to a project approved by the President if it fails to deliver its commitments?
If the project fails to substantially meet the agreed performance targets, the FIRB may recommend to the President the cancellation of the tax incentive or financial support package or the modified period or manner of availment of incentives. [Rule 10, Section 5]
Impact Evaluation/Cost Benefit Analysis
The concerned IPA shall conduct an initial impact evaluation using methods such as the ex-ante cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assist in the decision making and appraise the projected costs and benefits of the project or activity being evaluated. [Rule 6, Section 6 of IRR]
The DOF and the FIRB Secretariat have developed an initial framework for the ex-ante CBA, which is being rolled out to all IPAs.
No. The FIRB will conduct an ex-post CBA on all projects or activities regardless of investment capital. [Rule 16, Section 1(B) of IRR]
What happens to RBEs currently availing of tax incentives in an IPA (e.g. PEZA) but are presently located in another IPA (e.g. JHMC) that has no authority to grant incentives prior to the enactment of the CREATE Act?
A RBE registered in one IPA whose operation is located within the territorial jurisdiction of another IPA may continue to avail of its existing incentives during the transition period with the IPA that granted its tax incentives. [Rule 18, Section 1]
What happens to RBEs enjoying tax incentives prior to the effectivity of the CREATE Act?
There are three (3) rules governing the scenarios prior to the effectivity of the CREATE Act:
For non-income related tax incentives, the RBE will continue to enjoy duty exemption until the expiration of Certificate of Authority to Import (CAI)/admission entry or until the expiration of the transitory period under Section 311 of the Tax Code. Provided, That the VAT exemption on importation and VAT zero-rating on local purchases shall only apply to goods and services directly and exclusively used in the registered project or activity of the export enterprises subject to the provisions of RR 9-2021 [Rule 18 of IRR].
No. The FIRB will not charge additional processing fees as the CREATE Act does not confer to the FIRB the authority to impose fees. [Rule 13, Section 1 of IRR]
Within thirty (30) calendar days from the statutory deadline for filing of tax returns and payment of taxes, registered business enterprises are required to file with their IPAs a complete annual tax incentives report (ATIR) of their income-based tax incentives, VAT exemption and zero-rating, customs duty exemptions, deductions, credits or exclusions form the income tax base and exemptions from local taxes, and a complete annual benefits report which shall include the approved and actual amount of investments, approved and actual employment level and job creation, approved and actual exports and imports, domestic purchases, profits and dividend payout, all taxes paid, withheld and foregone, which shall be simultaneously submitted to the FIRB. [Rule 11, Section 2 of IRR]
In case of an adverse decision, the remedies available to the RBE will be governed by the IPA’s charter, IRR, and its issuances.
No. As provided under Section 12, Rule 13 of the CREATE IRR, the decision of the FIRB on the application for tax incentives of the RBE shall be final and immediately executory. [Rule 13, Section 12 of IRR]
The CREATE Act provides that a BE adversely affected by the decision of the FIRB may, within thirty (30) days from receipt of the adverse decision, appeal the same to the Court of Tax Appeals. [Rule 13, Section 12 of IRR]
No. The COR and CETI shall be issued by the concerned IPA, in the forms prescribed by the FIRB. [Rule 8, Section 4, Rule 7, Section 2, and Rule 21 of IRR]
If no application for the CETI is made, the COR issued by the IPA cannot serve as basis for the availment of tax incentives. [Rule 4, Sections 3 and 4 of IRR]
The RBE will receive a notice of denial from the concerned IPA or the FIRB. [Rule 7, Section 1 of IRR]
Exceptional circumstances include pandemic, epidemic, war, armed conflict, state of national emergency, outbreak of diseases, international or regional financial crisis, major disaster such as volcanic eruption, earthquake and super typhoon, or analogous circumstances.
The temporary measures that may be adopted may include any of the following:
a. Suspension of export requirement;
b. Deferment of the income tax incentive availment period;
c. Movement of the start of commercial operations with full entitlement to incentives under the terms and conditions of the registered project or activity; or
d. Adoption of any other measures as may be reasonable to recover from such circumstances, subject to FIRB approval upon the recommendation of the IPA.
The temporary measures shall, without diminution of incentives, cover all RBEs that are affected by such exceptional circumstances. [Rule 23, Sections 1 and 3 of IRR]
The affected RBEs incentives or its period of availment shall be maintained consistent with its terms and conditions during the implementation of the temporary measure. [Rule 23, Section 5 of IRR]
The affected RBE shall submit to the concerned IPA its application, together with the relevant documents, showing the adverse effects of such exceptional circumstances to avail of the temporary measure. The IPA shall provide the FIRB its recommendation for the Board’s approval. [Rule 23, Section 6 of IRR]
Upon the approval of the FIRB, the temporary measure shall be effective from the time of the declaration of such exceptional circumstance by the President, the relevant government agency, or the World Health Organization, as the case may be, until the same has ended or has ceased to exist, or corresponding to the duration that the RBE operation has been affected or disrupted, as applicable. [Rule 23, Sections 2 and 4 of IRR]