The government has allowed 100 per cent work from home to employees of special economic zones (SEZs) till December 31, 2023. For this, unit owners need to intimate the same to the development commissioner of the zones through an email before January 31, 2023.
The employees that are allowed work from home are — 1) employees of units that provide IT and IT-enabled services; 2) who are temporarily incapacitated; 3) who are travelling; and 4) who are working offsite, according to an official notification issued amending the Rule 43A of the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006.
“Where a unit permits its employees for work from home or from any place outside the Special Economic Zone under this rule, it shall intimate the same to the Development Commissioner through an email on or before the date on which the facility for work from home or from any place outside the Special Economic Zone is permitted," according to the notification.
The notification also said that no approval will be required for the removal of laptops.
“The Unit may provide to an employee duty-free goods, including laptop, desktop, and other electronic equipment needed by the employee for work from home or from any place outside the Special Economic Zone and the same shall be allowed to be taken outside the Special Economic Zone without payment of duty or integrated goods and services tax on temporary basis," according to the notification.
However, the units will have to ensure that such duty-free goods are duly accounted for in the appropriate records as per the extant rules and are available for verification.
Abhishek Jain, partner (indirect tax) at KPMG in India, said, “Work from home provisions for SEZs have been in discussion for some while, with businesses asking for various relaxations. It is good to see that the government has allowed for 100 per cent wfh upto December 31, 2023, with only minor compliance requirements and no stringent approval requirement for removal of laptops from premises. This consideration by the government will facilitate ease of doing business and ensure that the SEZ operations run smoothly."
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