The local Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is expecting online sellers in Palawan to register their businesses after the release of Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) no. 60-2020 notifying the tax obligations of businesses in digital transactions.

Revenue district officer Lorenzo delos Santos of RDO No. 36-Puerto Princesa said Thursday that the guidelines released Wednesday would help them to take actions to secure the tax compliance of businesses involving digital transactions.

“Iyon ang ini-expect namin kasi with the (RMC) kapag nalaman na nag-i-engage ka dyan, meron na kaming ngipin ngayon kasi that is already a requirement. Meron na kaming ngipin, hindi na kami mag-aatubili na gumawa ng action kasi meron na kaming guidelines lalo na kasi meron ng RMC na in-issue. We are expecting na magkakaroon niyan, di naman siguro marami pero magkakaroon ng start ng registration,” he said.

RMC no. 60-2020 was issued to give notice to online sellers doing business and earning income using social media platforms and other digital means to ensure that their businesses are registered according to Tax Code and that they are “tax compliant”.

This not only includes partner sellers and merchants but also “other stakeholders involved such as payment gateways, delivery channels, internet service providers, and other facilitators”.

Delos Santos said that he could not give an estimation on expected number of local online sellers that must register with BIR.

“Kadalasan kapag pupunta ka ng actual market ay mas mahal kesa sa online, kadalasan mas mura sa online. Tingnan mong kawalan sa gobyerno yan, kung sale yan sa regular market, that is supposed to be higher yong tax base kasi mahal sila ng kaunti. Tapos mamimili ka sa online, may unregistered, malaking kawalan talaga ng gobyerno yan, doble. Bibili ka sa unregistered na kumonti pa ang tax base na supposed to be don sa mga registered na nakikita mo physically sa mga market,” he said.

Businesses that will register not later than July 31, 2020, shall not be penalized for late registration, the circular said.

These online business owners are encouraged to voluntarily declare their past transactions subject to pertinent taxes and pay the taxes due thereon, without corresponding penalty, when declared and paid on or before the said date, it added.

Those who will be found still doing business later without complying with the registration and updating requirements and those who will fail to declare past due or unpaid taxes shall be penalized under the law and existing revenue regulations.

“Supposed to be (past transactions since they started their operations) kasi di ba kapag nagkaroon ng business transactions, di ba supposed to be mayroon ka na corresponding obligation din. Naka-attach lagi ang isang obligation sa isang business transaction, kung halimbawa ngayon ka lang mag-register pero nagkaroon ka ng transaction, kokolektahin din yon,” he said.

“Kung ma-prove namin, may facts kami kasi, kung talagang nagkaroon ka ng transactions, pwede ka na habulin,” Delos Santos added.

He said that all the requirements given under RCM 60-2020 are sufficient enough for the business owner to comply and to be registered under BIR.

Delos Santos said that individuals who are online selling would only secure two originals of BIR Form No. 1901, any government-issued ID; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) certificate if with the business name; P500 registration fee and loose documentary stamp tax for affixture to Certificate of Registration (COR) amounting P30 and; secure BIR printed receipts (BPR) or BIR Printed Invoice (BPI) or the Authority to Print (ATP).

“Lahat ng business nagsisimula sa maliit, now if you need to expand, ngayon napakalaki, kapag di ka nag-online ngayon, mawawalan ka ng negosyo. Nakikita mo yong ibang mga negosyo na direct selling na di sila nag-online, nawala sila. If you want to expand, do it rightly, mag-register ka para wala kang takot. Kasi kung halimbawa kumikita ka na, nag-i-expand ka na pero yong apprehension mo baka mahuli ka, baka yong kinita mo maubos din sa pag-prosecute,” he said.

Malacañang also on Thursday said online businesses earning less than P250,000 a year are exempted from paying taxes.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said online businesses that will not exceed the same amount need to register as digital entrepreneurs.

“If your online business’ net income does not exceed P250,000, wala naman talaga kayong ibabayad. So mag-rehistro na po,” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on government-owned PTV-4.