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How long does it take to incorporate a company in the Philippines?

It takes at least 45 days if all documents needed are sent to SEC and other government institutions. This is on the assumption that no government delays will occur in the process.

As a foreigner, do I need to put in USD 200,000 to incorporate a company?

Yes, you need to remit USD 200,000 into a Philippines bank account as part of the process to incorporate your company here in the Philippines. The money can be withdrawn after the release of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) certificate.
If your company is considered as an export market enterprise (i.e. more than 60% of your revenue or output is exported from the Philippines), then you are not required to put up $200,000.00 as paid up capital. The minimum paid up capital for an export market enterprise is only Php5,000.00. However, if your company is considered as a domestic market enterprise, and subject to the foreign investment negative list, then you are required to invest US $200,000 for you to be able to set up a 100% foreign owned company. Please take note though that foreigners are not allowed to engage in retail business (as this is reserved for Filipinos) unless they are investing $2.5 million.

Are there any taxes when we repatriate our investment out of the Philippines?

A tax of 10-15% is levied on the fund you declared to repatriate out of the country.

What is PEZA?

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry and is tasked to promote investments, extend assistance, register, grant incentives to facilitate the business operations of investors in export-oriented manufacturing and service facilities inside selected areas throughout the country. It is proclaimed by the President of the Philippines as PEZA Special Economic Zones.

What are the visa requirements if I become employed by my Philippine corporation? What kind of visa do I get? What about my family?

A foreign national entering the Philippines to engage in a lawful occupation is issued a work visa. Dependents of the principal holder include the spouse and dependent’s unmarried children under the age of 21 years. Other visas that may be applicable to the foreign employee depending on the nature of the business of the Philippine corporation.

What is the timeline to incorporate a company in the Philippines?

The registration process including the opening of a bank account and application with government agencies normally takes 8-12 weeks. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration alone can be completed within only 2 weeks.

What is the difference between a Representative office and an ROHQ?

A representative office, when compared to an ROHQ (Regional Operating Headquarters in the Philippines) is an investment vehicle that only allows representation of an office in the Philippines which limits its activities to deal directly with clients of its head office located in the Philippines and only provides information dissemination about the company’s products / services and quality control. A Representative office, therefore, is a cost center that should not be fully subsidized by its parent office and may not derive income from the Philippines. To maintain the same, an inward remittance of USD 30,000 must be remitted to the Philippines for operating expenses. On the other hand a ROHQ is allowed to derive income in the Philippines by providing qualifying services to its branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates in the Philippines and other foreign markets. An ROHQ is prohibited from offering its products or services to enterprises other than its branches, subsidiaries or affiliates.

What is the most cost-efficient corporate set up?

For services offered only to the enterprises’ branches, subsidiaries or affiliates, ROHQs are taxed 10% of taxable income compared to the 30% tax of Domestic Corporation and resident and non-resident foreign corporations. Enterprises may avail of tax incentives, depending on their proposed business activity.

What are local government permits and why are they necessary to my registration?

It is necessary to register and obtain a licence from the Local Government Unit to legalize your business in the city or municipality where you intend to locate your business.

How often do we need to renew our business or mayor's permit?

Business permits expire on the 31st of December (unless permits are issued on a quarterly basis) and must be renewed annually. Renewal is every January, depending on the city or municipality where the office is operated.