BIR, DOF urged to extend deadline for ITR filing

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2021   •   811

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Finance (DOF) to reconsider their decision not to extend the April 15 deadline for the filing and payment of annual income tax returns for the year 2020.

“I-extend na lang sana ang April 15 deadline, kahit na sa NCR Plus lang. We already extended last year dahil sa enhanced community quarantine. Nasa parehong sitwasyon tayo a year later, kaya hindi ko naiintindihan bakit hindi mapagbigyan,” Binay said in a statement.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa on Monday said the bureau would not be extending the deadline due to the government’s need to reach its revenue targets to fund the pandemic response.

As a relief for taxpayers, Dulay said the BIR will allow the filing of a tentative ITR before the deadline and give them until May 15 to amend the returns without penalties.

If overpayment of taxes will be made on the revised ITRs, the bureau said taxpayers can either file for a refund, or choose to carry over the overpaid tax as a credit against the tax due for the same tax type in the following period.

But Binay said individual taxpayers and even micro and small businesses would find it difficult to comply, in the first place, given the restrictions on movement.

“Ang talo kasi rito iyong mga indibidwal at maliliit na negosyo na limitado ang kapasidad na kumpletuhin ang mga requirements dahil sa lockdown. So para sa kanila, walang bearing ang no-penalty amendments dahil baka mismong pag-file hindi nila magawa,” she said.

The senator also said that even corporate taxpayers would be pressed for time in adjusting their payments to the lower rates provided as relief by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law, which President Rodrigo Duterte only signed on March 26. The BIR released the law’s draft implementing rules and regulations on Tuesday.

Binay also stressed that a deadline extension does not mean non-payment.

“Hindi naman dahil extended ay hindi na magbabayad. Those who are able to will file and pay. Ang panawagan lang naman natin is not to penalize those who are unable to comply because of the difficulties presented by the lockdown,” she said.

Based on the BIR’s monthly collection goal, the agency aims to collect P235.237 billion in April.

The BIR said taxpayers or assigned officers can also use their electronic signatures in filing returns, attachments, and other documents needed, which will be considered as actual signatures.

It recently allowed taxpayers to file their returns and make payments anywhere, or even outside the area covered by Revenue District Offices where they are registered, without incurring penalties.

Unemployed Filipinos rose to 3.88M in August — PSA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The country’s unemployment rate in August 2021 was estimated at 8.1% , an increase from 6.9% reported in July.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday that the total number of unemployed Filipinos in August stood at 3.88 million individuals 15 years old and over.

This is amid the implementation of stringent quarantine classifications due to the high number of reported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In a joint statement of the administration’s economic managers, including Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, and Budget officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie L. Canda, said the result of the recent unemployment rate was expected given the restrictions prompted by the pandemic and the spread of the Delta variant.

Nevertheless, the economic managers said the result is an improvement, since the labor force participation increased to 63.6% from 59.8%. This is equivalent to 48.12 million Filipinos 15 years old and over.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the country is slowly recovering owing to the government’s risk management strategy. He said that majority of workers were allowed to operate and return to work while under heightened quarantine.

Tuloy po ang ating public transport. Ang mga pinagbawalan lang natin ay iyong mga nasa closed places, crowds at close contact areas. So iyan po ang dahilan kung bakit bumabalik ang trabaho at gumaganda ang ating underemployment rate (Public transport continues to operate. What is not allowed are gatherings in closed places, crowds, and close contact areas. That is the reason why workers have returned and our underemployment rate is improving),” he said during a virtual public briefing on Thursday. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

BIR to probe tax compliance of initial 250 social media influencers

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is set to launch an investigation into the initial list of 250 social media influencers to check on their tax compliance.

In a report to Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BIR said that Letters of Authority (LOAs) for the conduct of investigation have been issued to certain social media influencers found to be “top earners.”

The BIR said that social media personalities who earn money from their posts on digital media are classified as self-employed individuals or persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors.

Their earnings are generally considered as business income as defined under BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 97-2021 issued last Aug. 16, the bureau added.

“We encourage them to register, and then we have the profiling of over 250 personalities. We will do the investigation so that they would pay the necessary corresponding tax on their earnings,” BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said in his report to Dominguez.

Under RMC 97-2021 issued in August, social media influencers should pay income tax and percentage tax or, if applicable, the value-added tax (VAT), as mandated under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and other existing laws.

Based on the Circular, social media influencers are defined as those who derive their income from the following sources:

  1. a) You Tube Partner Program;
  2. b) sponsored social and blog posts;
  3. c) display advertising;
  4. d) becoming a brand representative/ambassador;
  5. e) affiliate marketing;
  6. f) co-creating product lines;
  7. g) promoting own products;
  8. h) photo and video sales;
  9. i) digital courses, subscriptions, e-books;
    j) podcasts and webinars

The Circular states, among others, that social media influencers who receive free goods in exchange for promotions must declare as income the fair market value of these products.

Income treated as royalties from another country, including payments under the YouTube Partner Program, shall likewise be included in the computation of the gross income of the socmed influencer and shall be subject to tax.

“It must be emphasized that the BIR also has the power to obtain information from foreign tax authorities pursuant to the Exchange of Information (EOI) provision of the relevant tax treaties. The BIR has the means to verify their income as it is clothed with a special power to obtain information from its treaty partners. The BIR may safely rely on the data provided by its treaty partners to establish the influencer’s tax liability,” RMC 97-2021 stated.

“The social media influencers are, therefore, advised to voluntary and truthfully declare their income and pay their corresponding taxes without waiting for a formal investigation to be conducted by the BIR to avoid being liable for tax evasion and for the civil penalty of fifty percent (50 percent) of the tax or of the deficiency tax,” it added.

In order to avoid the risks of double taxation, the BIR advised social media influencers receiving income from a non-resident person residing in a country, with which the Philippines has a tax treaty, to inform the latter that they are residents of the Philippines, and are, therefore, entitled to claim treaty benefits provided under the relevant tax agreement.

The Circular said social media influencers who “willfully attempt to evade the payment of tax or willfully fail to make a tax return, to supply accurate and correct information or to pay tax” shall, in addition to the payment of taxes and corresponding penalties, be held criminally liable under the Tax Code.

Social media influencers na hindi nagbabayad ng buwis, tinutukoy na — BIR

Robie de Guzman   •   August 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ang proseso sa pagtukoy sa social media influencers na maaaring kasuhan dahil sa hindi pagbabayad ng buwis.

Ayon kay Atty. Marisa Cabreros, ang deputy commissioner for legal group ng BIR, bahagi ito ng mandato ng ahensiya na habulin at papanagutin ang mga tax evader.

Ani Cabreros, ang sinumang kumikita sa pamamagitan ng alinmang social media platforms ay obligadong magpa-rehistro at ideklara ang kanilang kinikita sa BIR.

Sakop nito ang mga gumagawa ng online content o nag-eendorso ng mga produkto gaya halimbawa ng mga vlogger o Youtubers.

“Basta lahat po ng ating mga nasa online ang means of kita, kumikita sila binabayaran sila sa kahit anong klase ng serbisyo na ginagawa online… Lahat po ng taxpayers, indibidwal at korporasyon na tumatanggap ng income, in-cash or in-kind na ginagamit ang media site or any other platform at any activity perform on those sites and platform basta kumikita sila,” ani Cabreros.

“Because of it sila po ang tinutukoy natin na kailangang magrehistro, yun nga lang po ang mga famous as example are our Youtubers, yung nag-live streaming sa Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Reddit, Snapshot and all other platforms po,” dagdag pa niya.

Pero paglilinaw ng BIR, hindi lahat ng social media influencers ay pagbabayarin ng buwis.

Aniya, ang small time social media influencers na may annual net income ng hindi hihigit sa P250,000 ay exempted sa pagbabayad ng tax alinsunod sa Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

Kaya wala umano silang dapat na ipag-alala at sa halip ay kinakailangan lamang na magparehistro at ideklara ang kanilang negosyo.

“Kaya yung sinasabi ng iba na maliit lang kami wala naman kaming gaanong kinikita pa, wala po silang dapat ikatakot,” ani Cabreros.

Babala ng BIR, maaaring maharap sa kaso ang sinumang social media influencer na hindi magdedeklara ng kanilang kita o kaya ay hindi nagbabayad ng tamang buwis.

Maaari din silang kasuhan sa hindi pagpapa-rehistro, hindi mag-iisyu ng resibo at tax fraud.

Posibleng makulong ng hindi bababa sa anim na taon at pagmultahin ng hanggang P10 miylyon ang sinomang hindi magbabayad ng tamang buwis. RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

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