Q: May an entity be exempted from the payment of creditable expanded withholding tax prescribed under Revenue Regulations No. 2-98, as amended, on account of registration with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)?
A: Yes. Section 2.57.5.(B) (2) of Revenue Regulations No. 2-98, as amended, is explicit in its provisions that the expanded withholding tax does not apply to income payments to persons enjoying exemption from payment of income taxes pursuant to the provisions of any law, general or special. PEZA-registered enterprises are granted certain preferential tax treatment under Section 24 of Republic Act No. 7916 which provides that "any provision of existing laws, rules and regulations to the contrary notwithstanding, no taxes, local and national shall be imposed on business establishments operating within the ECOZONE. In lieu of paying taxes, five percent (5%) of the gross income earned by all businesses and enterprises within the ECOZONE shall be remitted to the national government.
A PEZA-registered enterprise enjoying a 4-year-ITH, income payments made to it, with respect to its registered activity, shall not be subject to 2% expanded creditable withholding tax prescribed in Revenue Regulations No. 2-98, as amended, for the covered period of four (4) years. It must be emphasized, however, that it is constituted as withholding agent for the government. As such, it is required to withhold the tax on compensation income of its employees or the withholding tax on income payments to persons subject to tax pursuant to Section 57 of the Tax Code of 1997, as amended.
(BIR Ruling No. 142-10, December 9, 2010)