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SEC extends again amnesty program’s deadline to Dec. 31

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) once again extended the deadline of its amnesty program — this time until Dec. 31, 2023 — to let noncompliant corporations avail of lower fines.

The corporate regulator said in a statement on Monday that it issued Memorandum Circular No. 20 on Nov. 3 that provided the extension for corporations to file their amnesty application and settle their amnesty fees until yearend.

Before the Dec. 31 extended deadline, the SEC had set the closing date for its amnesty program on Nov. 6, which was also an extension of the prior Sept. 30 deadline.

Sought for further comment, SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lester K. Lee said the extension is “one last opportunity” for corporations to avail of the amnesty.

“The extension is intended to give our constituents one last opportunity to avail of the amnesty. We strongly encourage the public to avail of this as this will be the last possible amnesty extension the commission will issue,” Mr. Lee told BusinessWorld via Viber message.

Last month, the SEC advised more than 320,000 ordinary corporations to avail of the amnesty program to avoid getting tagged as delinquent or having their corporate registrations suspended or revoked.

Under the amnesty program, corporations are allowed to avail of lower penalties for noncompliance with reportorial requirements, including late and non-filing of their general information sheet (GIS), annual financial statements (AFS), and official contact details.

The requirements are mandated under Republic Act No. 11232 or the Revised Corporation Code (RCC).

According to the SEC, corporations could avail of the amnesty by accepting the web-based expression of interest form on their SEC electronic filing and submission tool (eFAST) accounts.

“Submission of all other requirements will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2024, so long as the company has filed its expression of interest before Dec. 31,” the SEC said.

The corporate regulator added that noncompliant corporations should also upload and submit their latest due GIS and AFS on eFAST before Jan. 31 next year.

“Suspended and revoked corporations must submit their respective petitions to lift their suspension or revocation on eFAST, along with their latest GIS and AFS, within the same period,” the SEC said.

For suspended and revoked corporations, other requirements such as copies of their certificates of incorporation, latest mayor’s or business permits, and certificates of registration with the Bureau of Internal Revenue should be submitted to the SEC’s company registration and monitoring department or the nearest SEC Extension Office initially through e-mail by Jan. 31 next year.

“Should an applicant fail to submit the complete set of requirements by Jan. 31, 2024, the amnesty fee paid, as well as the P3,060 petition fee initially collected from suspended/revoked corporation, shall be forfeited in favor of the SEC,” the SEC said.

Meanwhile, the SEC said its updated scale of fines and penalties for reportorial requirements will be implemented on Jan. 1 next year, where basic penalties for the late and non-filing of reports are expected to increase by as high as 1,900%.

“Going forward, the SEC will strictly enforce the submission of reportorial requirements by corporations, and impose the corresponding penalties in the form of monetary penalties, placement of the erring corporation under delinquency status, and suspension and revocation of a corporation’s certificate of incorporation, as provided under the RCC,” the SEC said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Neil Banzuelo

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