The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) local revenue district office is encouraging online merchants to register their businesses and clear up any misunderstandings about tax responsibilities.

Atty. John Rainier Camba, assistant revenue district officer, said that registering with the BIR is linked to timely tax payment. He also emphasized that people with taxable income of less than P250,000 are not obliged to submit an income tax return.

Based on the record of BIR, there are only three online businesses registered with the local revenue district office.

The removal of the misconception on tax obligations, he said, will also help the bureau to match their figure of registered businesses with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Siguro hindi nila (alam) ‘yong responsibility nila na kailangan nila mag-register kasi nagkakaroon ng misconception o natatakot sila na kapag nagpa-rehsitro ay automatic na may tax. Kaya every Friday, nagkakaroon tayo ng tax briefing, open ito sa mga gustong um-attend. Idi-discuss ang responsibilities, kung ano ang kailangan mo bayaran,” he said.

“Kapag nag-register sila ay magbabayad agad ng tax, isipin nila na kapag nag-register sila, tingnan muna nila kung ano ang income nila. Aakyat ba sila sa P250,000 o hindi, kapag hindi ay exempt sila. Kapag more than 250 ay doon papasok na may tax sila,” he added.

Meanwhile, the bureau reminded social media influencers of their tax responsibilities and the potential penalties of failing to pay tax, as indicated in Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 97-2021, which was published in August.

In Palawan, there are only three social media influencers registered in BIR RDO. 36 Palawan.

“Marami siguro na social media influencer (sa Palawan) pero tingin ko naman ay maliliit na tao, hindi lalagpas ng P250,000 (taxable income) unlike sa Manila na milyon talaga ang kinikita,” Camba said.

Other than companies and partnerships, social media influencers are categorized as self-employed people or persons engaged in trade or commerce as single proprietors for tax reasons, according to the bureau. They must register with the BIR RDO that has jurisdiction over the taxpayer’s place of residence or the location where the main office is situated.

If they are already registered with the bureau but only as employees, they need to update their registration information with the RDO where they are registered, specifying any changes and other taxpayer details.

Influencers are subject to a graduated income tax rate of 0% to 35% based on net taxable income (income less business expenses), except those considered non-resident aliens not engaged in business in the Philippines (NRANEBs) which are subject to 25% tax based on gross income.

For citizens and resident alien taxpayers who are registered as non-VAT, if the total gross sales receipt does not exceed P3 million during the taxable year, they may choose to avail of the 8% tax based on gross sales or receipts, including other income, subject to compliance with the current tax regulations, the memorandum explained.

“Note that whether a taxpayer is using the graduated or the 8% rate, the first P250,000 is not subject to income tax under the TRAIN Law.”