The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is training its sights on influencers who are cashing in on their popularity on social media in a bid to raise revenue collection.
BIR announced on Thursday (Sept. 16) that Letters of Authority have been sent to 250 social media personalities deemed as the “top earners in their field” to check if they’re paying the right amount of taxes.
Social media influencers, the BIR said, should be registered as self-employed individuals or persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors, who are eligible to remit three kinds of taxes: income tax and percentage tax or, if applicable, the value-added tax (VAT).
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa advised social media influencers to “voluntary and truthfully declare their income and pay their corresponding taxes” before the BIR launches an investigation to avoid possible liability for tax evasion and paying a 50% penalty of the tax or of the deficiency tax.
“We will do the investigation so that they would pay the necessary corresponding tax on their earnings,” Guballa told the Department of Finance in a statement.
According to the BIR, profits from the YouTube Partner Program, sponsored social and blog posts, display advertising, brand ambassadorships, affiliate marketing or commissions, co-creating product lines, promoting own products. photo and video sales, digital courses, subscriptions, e-books, and podcasts and webinars are all taxable.
Freebies received from promotion deals should also be declared as income, with the fair market value of the item as the declared amount.
“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,” the BIR added.