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Taxman eyes bloggers, YouTubers

A popular political blogger, whose site was launched in 2017 and has drawn 250,000 followers, used to earn an average of P15,000 to P25,000 monthly from Google ads and instant articles from Facebook.

But trolls attacked her and complained to Facebook, which canceled their deal. Now she earns only P5,000 to P7,000 monthly from Google.

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Yet she said she was willing to pay taxes if there are clear guidelines and as long as the government uses it correctly. “But I hope the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) start with POGOs (Philippine offshore gaming operators),” she said, referring to a memorandum requiring that taxes be imposed on digital earners.

A filmmaker who won an award on his debut project, but is now engaged in online selling due to the pandemic has a different view. “I am against it because the timing is terrible. Taxation is reasonable if the ones in authority are using it for good, but so far, we haven’t seen where the P275 billion COVID emergency fund went.

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“We do not need more taxes now, we need assistance. The unemployment rate has gone up since the pandemic, and people are trying to find ways like online selling or blogging to survive. This BIR plan shows how the government is so insensitive to the needs of the people.”

The taxman cometh for video bloggers, influencers, Youtubers and others earning money from digital ads on their platforms.

The BIR on Friday told lawmakers “online bloggers and filmmakers earning from advertising gained from their online channels” were covered by a memorandum requiring digital earners to register so taxes could be collected from them.

At a hearing of the House ways and means panel, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro asked the BIR: “Is it true that bloggers, filmmakers and those earning from digital ads are also covered by this memorandum?”

She was referring to Revenue Memorandum Circular 60-2020 that gave notice to all e-commerce merchants to get registered, keep accounting records, file their tax returns and pay their taxes on time.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa replied: “Yes, bloggers and others earning digital ads are also required to register their business.”

The memorandum applies to e-commerce platform providers, such as Shopee and Lazada, internet retailers of consumer goods, providers of digital membership/subscription services and other digital transactions through the use of electronic platforms and media, online bloggers and filmmakers earning advertising income, and ride-hailing services for food, transport, delivery or merchandise.

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TAGS: BIR, bloggers, Google, income, Internet, tax, YouTube
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