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BIR starts crackdown on unregistered online businesses

/ 05:20 AM October 01, 2020

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) starting today will go after unregistered online businesses despite the challenges posed by the lack of physical addresses and possibly even financial documents to audit.

The BIR no longer exten­ded the Sept. 30 deadline for online-based enterprises to register as taxpayers, which had been prolonged by two more months from the original July 31 cutoff date as the taxman took into consideration the difficulty to visit their offices amid quarantine movement restrictions.

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Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa told the Inquirer that at least 7,262 web-based businesses already registered as of Wednesday morning.

With the deadline lapsed, Guballa said unregistered online businesses would now be slapped penalties similar to those imposed on tax-delinquent firms.

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Guballa said the BIR was working on how revenue officers could rise above the challenges posed by the online nature of these businesses.

“How to monitor and apprehend [unregistered online businesses] are on the table,” Guballa said, but he did not disclose what specific steps the BIR would undertake to do so. “We are crafting the metho­dology.”

But even the BIR has yet to determine how many online-based businesses were operating in the country and how much tax revenues could be collected from them.

While the government collects the taxes due from online firms as it does from brick-and-mortar businesses, the BIR has been moving to online taxpayer registration to ease compliance, Guballa told the Inquirer last month.

The BIR targets to fully implement by next year its ongoing project called online registration and update system through which all new taxpayers—personal or corporate—can register.

—BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), online businesses
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