Are you a vlogger based here in the Philippines who made a lot of money recently? Be aware that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is on the lookout for vloggers they might find taxable. The other day, it was reported by the Manila Bulletin that the BIR is paying close attention to a certain unidentified couple who allegedly earned between P50 million to P100 million (US$1 million to US$2 million based on the latest foreign exchange rates) that past few years and the deletion of their social media channel was seen to be a move to avoid taxation. It should be noted that the BIR launched a campaign focused on social media influencers or SMIs.
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…
A couple, who reportedly raked in multi-million pesos from video blogging (vlogging), abruptly deleted their social media channel in what the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials believe to be an attempt to avoid paying taxes.
Based on the initial investigation of the BIR, the couple earned P50 to P100 million in the past two years which enabled them to buy luxury vehicles and built a mansion somewhere in Metro Manila.
BIR sources said the couple deleted their channel days after BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay announced a crackdown against social media influencers (SMIs) who have been receiving earning huge sum of money from social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook by compelling them to pay taxes.
The couple, BIR officials said, had more than 11 million subscribers. The names of the pair were withheld pending the outcome of the investigation.
But the BIR said it will still run after the couple, saying deleting the social media channel will not excuse them from paying taxes.
Vloggers are classified as self-employed subject to 12 percent value-added tax if annual income is P3 million and more, eight percentage tax if less than the amount and tax exempt if not more than P250,000.
Dulay advised vloggers to be truthful in their income tax declaration to avoid facing tax evasion charges.
The article ended stating that social media influencers cannot hide their respective income because the “tax authorities of countries where the social media platforms are based are obligated to furnish the BIR with their salaries under a tax treaty agreement with the Philippines.”
For the newcomers reading this, the penalties for tax evasion has been updated this year in accordance to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act. A person found guilty of tax evasion, the financial penalty is now P500,000 to P10 million. Imprisonment will be 6 to 10 years.
In closing this piece, let me ask you readers: Do you believe that the BIR’s search for qualified vloggers or SMIs to tax is good for the Philippines? Do you believe that your favorite vloggers or SMIs have a legal obligation to pay taxes? Do you believe that the affected vloggers/SMIs will react by promoting/favoring the politicians or potential election candidates who oppose the current administration?
You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.
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