Over 3,500 online sellers now registered
Despite movement restrictions amid COVID-19 quarantine, more than 3,500 online businesses have registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) since June 1, when the tax agency issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 60-2020.
The said circular is a reminder to online sellers or persons conducting business through any form of electronic media of their obligations to register with the BIR, in accordance with the Tax Code and its guidelines seven years ago.
Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa told the Inquirer that since the BIR issued RMC No. 60-2020 last month, a total of 3,524 online sellers complied with the BIR’s reminder to register and pay their taxes.
The BIR earlier gave online businesses one more month, or until Aug. 31, to register without penalty.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay told the Inquirer that since Aug. 31 was a holiday—National Heroes Day—the deadline would be on the following day, Sept. 1.
The original cutoff date was today, July 31, but Dulay acknowledged in RMC No. 75-2020 issued on Wednesday that “online merchants have signified their cooperation but are requesting for more time to comply due to the current problem in going to [BIR] district offices due to transport issues, fear of dealing face-to-face with others, limited open bank branches for their funding, and others.”
On top of the deadline extension, Dulay said that “those who will voluntarily declare their past transactions subject to pertinent taxes and pay the taxes due thereon when declared and paid on or before the said date will not be subject to the corresponding penalty for late filing and payment.”
But once past the extended deadline, Dulay warned that “all those who will be found later doing business without complying with the registration/update requirements, and those who failed to declare past due taxes/unpaid taxes will be slapped with the applicable penalties under the law, and existing revenue rules and regulations.”
RMC 60-2020 reminded online stores of their registration and tax obligations under the Tax Code as well as the guidelines issued by then BIR chief Kim Jacinto-Henares in 2013.
Henares’ RMC 55-2013 required all online stores—specifically those engaged in online business transactions, including online retailing through virtual shopping malls, online marketplaces, webstores and similar websites—to register and pay their taxes.
The government found out that online sales flourished as a big number of enterprises did business via the internet during the COVID-19 lockdown that shut down many brick-and-mortar marketplaces.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that RMC 60-2020 was part of the government’s efforts to implement a tax-collection program on digital transactions for both goods and services, just as it also collected taxes from physical stores.
“What we are asking right now is for online sellers to just register with the BIR. Whether or not they will be subject to tax depends on their specific circumstances,” Dominguez said.
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