Impactful Law and Rule Changes
By Gerardo Maximo Francisco on February 3, 2022
First of a series
On Nov. 11, 2021, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) issued IATF Resolution 148-B, Series of 2021, which approved the following measure that took effect on Dec. 1, 2021:
“In areas where there are sufficient supplies of Covid-19 vaccines as determined by the National Vaccines Operation Center, all establishments and employers in the public and private sector shall require their eligible employees who are tasked to do on-site work to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated solely by reason thereof. However, they shall be required to undergo RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests regularly at their own expense for purposes of on-site work. Provided that, antigen tests may be resorted to when RT-PCR capacity is insufficient or not immediately available.”
It is apparent that the IATF did not intend this measure to be a “no vaccine, no work” policy because it expressly states that “eligible employees who remain to be unvaccinated may not be terminated solely by reason thereof.”
The IATF, however, did change an earlier rule stating the employer should shoulder the cost of testing for Covid-19 by requiring eligible unvaccinated employees “to undergo RT-PCR tests regularly at their own expense for purposes of on-site work.”
The measure modified Labor Advisory 18, Series of 2020, issued by the Department of Labor and Employment on May 16, 2020 that required employers “to shoulder the cost of Covid-19 prevention and control measures such as but not limited to the following: testing […]” and provided that “no cost related to or incidental to Covid-19 prevention and control measures shall be charged directly or indirectly to the workers.”
This rule change is impactful because it may encourage unvaccinated workers, who wish to avoid incurring costs related to regular testing for Covid-19, to get vaccinated.
On July 26, 2021, meanwhile, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), issued Revenue Regulations (RR) 17-2021 amending RR 6-2019 (May 29, 2019) that provided rules implementing provisions of the estate tax amnesty under Republic Act (RA) 11213 (2019). RR 17-2021 implements the extension of the estate tax amnesty under RA 11569 (2021) until June 14, 2023.
Under Section 9 of RR 6-2019, the estate tax amnesty return (ETAR or BIR Form 2118-EA) must be filed within the amnesty period together with complete documents as enumerated in the return. One of the attachments that had to be submitted was the “Affidavit of Self Adjudication or Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement (EJS) of the Estate of the decedent; or court decision/judgment if the estate has been settled judicially or if there is a last will and testament.”
Perhaps recognizing the difficulty that many heirs/taxpayers experience in producing an EJS or a court-ordered judicial settlement, RR 17-2021 amended RR 6-2019 by stating that “proof of settlement of the estate, whether judicial or extrajudicial, need not accompany the ETAR if it is not yet available at the time of its filing, but no electronic certificate authorizing registration (eCAR) shall be issued unless such proof is presented and submitted to the concerned RDO (Revenue District Office).”
The requirement of submitting the EJS was removed from the list of mandatory requirements for the issuance of the certificate of availment of estate tax amnesty. It was added to the list of mandatory requirements for eCAR issuance.
With these changes, more estates may now avail of and benefit from the estate tax amnesty granted under the Tax Amnesty Act. This will free up idle properties that heirs could not deal with because of substantial unpaid estate taxes, penalties and interest owed to the BIR.
Gerardo Maximo V. Francisco is a partner of Mata-Perez, Tamayo and Francisco (MTF Counsel). He is a corporate, deal, litigation and employment lawyer.
The contents of the above article are intended for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any question or comment regarding this article, you may email the author at email@example.com or visit MTF Counsel’s website at www.mtfcounsel.com.