BIR registers nearly 2.3K online sellers, 100 influencers

Published by rudy Date posted on October 11, 2021

by Elijah Felice Rosales – The Philippine Star, 11 Oct 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has registered nearly 2,300 online sellers and more than 100 social media influencers as part of its efforts to capture the digital economy.

In an interview with reporters, Finance assistant secretary Dakila Napao said the BIR has taken into its fold a total of 2,282 service providers and 105 influencers as of Sept. 15.

However, Napao said the BIR has yet to report any progress on the investigation it launched on 250 influencers for nonpayment of taxes and related violations against the tax code.

The BIR also has yet to report any collection from influencers having a field day from the attention digital platforms are getting during the pandemic. Either way, Napao said the BIR would go after online personalities to check on their tax compliance.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III reminded influencers that the government would probe them even if they delete their social media pages to wipe out their transaction history. He said the BIR maintains the power to ask third party entities for information like income flow.

“We will still go after them whether or not they have a social media account, (especially) if they earn money and we have evidence that they have money,” Dominguez said.

“They (influencers) have to pay the tax, everybody has to pay tax, whatever the source of your income is,” he said.

According to Napao, the BIR can use its tax treaties with jurisdictions outside the Philippines to demand information needed to check whether influencers comply with their financial obligations.

BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa last month said the agency came out with a list of 250 influencers who would be investigated for failure to pay taxes. The BIR discovered that the online personalities, publishing original content in digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube, generate the highest revenues among their community.

Prior to that, the BIR initiated a tax hunt against influencers through the issuance of a revenue memorandum circular (RMC). Under RMC 97-2021, online personalities with gross income of at least P3 million annually must pay a value added tax of 12 percent.

On the other hand, influencers falling below that amount must settle eight percent of their gross sales in excess of P250,000.

Through the RMC, the BIR also warned influencers against trying to evade paying their tax dues or face a jail term of six to 10 years and a penalty of up to P10 million.

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