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BIR to Reward Those Who Report Influencers Evading Taxes

by Duey Guison  August 24, 2021

After BIR issued its much-talked-about memo calling for social media influencers to pay taxes, the government agency further disclosed that people can receive a reward for tipping them about tax evaders.

This was said by Tax expert and former BIR examiner Mon Abrea, who explained that people can receive as much as Php 1 million in reward. “‘Yun ‘yung hindi masyado alam ng publikoTayo mismo pwede kumita…‘pag sinabi natin o tinuro natin ‘yung mga kasama natin na mukhang hindi nagbabayad ng buwis,” Abrea told to One News.

This is in light of the BIR receiving reports that certain social media influencers have not been paying their income taxes despite earning huge incomes from different online platforms like YouTube. In addition to that, BIR has also received reports that these influencers are not registered with them or are registered under different tax types or line of businesses but do not declare their earnings from digital platforms.

“Whatever may be the reasons, it is now the most opportune time to discuss the tax obligations of these social media influencers,” the memorandum elaborated, which you can read here.

BIR defines social media influencers as individuals who generate income as bloggers/vloggers from any digital platform such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and Snapchat. While BIR’s memo did cause a buzz, the agency emphasized that they have to pay taxes and register with BIR just like like media practitioners, artists, or self-employed individuals.

According to Abrea, tracing social media influencers who are not paying taxes is easy especially if they are in BIR’s database. “It’s easy to trace them, it’s just like a bank account. It’s easy to type your name in the system of the BIR,” Abrea said. “The easiest basis here is when you don’t have a TIN (tax identification number) or you are not registered. This is for sure tax evasion because you earn a huge amount but you are not registered.”

As a response, the Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP), a group of content creators and social media influencers, assured BIR that their members are willing to pay the proper taxes.

“We would like to commend the BIR in issuing the said circular as it gives a general overview of all the tax rules and regulations that are applicable to the members of our organization,” CICP said in their statement. “We view the (circular) as an opportunity to exemplify the importance we give to paying taxes and show others that we view it as a patriotic duty that any responsible citizen should fulfill.”

CICP adds that they are open to talk with the BIR for tax compliance and that they are crafting a code of ethics for content creators centered around standards, fair dealing, transparency, social responsibility, and compliance with the law.

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