THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) seeks to hold a dialogue with social media and internet celebrities this year to “educate” them about their tax obligations as part of its measures to achieve its P2.6-trillion collection target this year.
BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui maintained that social media influencers, vloggers and content creators must be taxed since they are earning income from their respective platforms and contents.
Lumagui emphasized that some of these personalities may be just “unaware” of their tax obligations that is why they are not able to file the necessary income taxes.
Lumagui noted that perhaps there was something wrong with the messaging of the previous tax officials that made social media stars “scared” of complying with their tax responsibilities.
“Some influencers just don’t know their tax obligations. What we want is a dialogue with them that these are your obligations as social media influencers—you’re earning from whatever you’re doing, so this is your responsibility as income earners,” he told reporters in a recent interview.
“We want to be friendly with them, do not be scared. We will assist you,” he added.
The BIR plans to hold the dialogue within the first half of the year. Lumagui noted that dialogues are effective tools to encourage individuals and even groups to pay their taxes correctly.
For example, he cited the case with vape associations and lotto operators wherein the bureau conducted separate dialogues with them to clarify their tax duties.
Lumagui also disclosed that they see social media influencers as a vehicle to encourage more Filipinos to pay their taxes correctly and punctually given their reach.
“I think that one way of making people comply with tax obligations is to educate the people because tax is a very complicated topic and it is not easy to understand,” he said.
“That’s why what I want is to really explain, laymanize everything so they will understand the obligations and responsibilities so that when everything is simplified and you are unable to comply, its most likely you have an intent to evade,” he added.
Lumagui also disclosed that they are doubling their efforts on improving tax collections from online businesses, especially those utilizing Lazada and Shoppee in the country.
“We’re in constant communication with platforms, because its a challenge to monitor. We’re thinking of ways to approach it because if you look at individual online sellers, it is quite difficult,” he said.
“It’s a challenge. Hopefully we can do a lot to address these new concepts, platforms and of course think of an efficient way of going about tax collection,” he added.
In 2021, the BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular 97-2021 regarding the taxation of any income earned by social media influencers. Pundits noted that the circular was reiteration of the BIR’s earlier Revenue Memorandum Circular 60-2020 that outlined the obligations of people earning through any forms of electronic media.
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