Influencers ‘happy to dialogue’ with BIR over tax dues | Inquirer News

Influencers ‘happy to dialogue’ with BIR over tax dues

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:44 AM August 21, 2021

Erwan Heussaff, Jako de Leon and Carlo Ople

After receiving a warning to pay their taxes or face charges, a group of social media influencers on Friday asked for a dialogue with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), hoping the agency would make it easier for them to settle their dues.

“We hope the BIR recognizes that we in the organization, as well as the vast community of Influencers, conduct business digitally,’’ the Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP) said in a statement.


“We hope the BIR will soon introduce certain mechanisms that will ease the burden of tax compliance by using these digital platforms, not only for the benefit of the influencers, but also for the benefit of all taxpayers. We would be happy to dialogue with the [BIR] about these initiatives,” CICP added.

The group issued the statement following an Inquirer report about the BIR training its sights on online personalities, such as bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers), who have been capitalizing on their network of followers to promote products and services without paying the right taxes for their earnings.


‘Marketing ecosystem’

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa on Tuesday said the bureau was already “in the process of identifying” social media influencers who may already be committing tax evasion.

Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay earlier noted that some influencers had neither registered as taxpayers with the BIR nor paid their personal and business tax dues “despite earning huge income from the different social media platforms.’’

Dulay issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 97-2021 to remind influencers of their tax obligations, noting their growing popularity on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.

According to its website, CICP was formed in January 2020 “to establish the country’s influencer marketing ecosystem to shape, inspire, educate and empower creators, influencers, and brands.”

Digital marketing guru Donald Lim was cited as the founder of CICP, whose website also featured the photos of its founding board of directors. They include prominent online personalities like Goyo Larazzabal, JJ Disini, Erwan Heussaff, Jako de Leon and Carlo Ople, among others.

The Inquirer asked CICP, through its public relations officer, about the specific measures that the BIR can put in place to ease the tax compliance of the group’s members. There was still no reply at press time.

Code of ethics

In its statement, CICP said it was “crafting a code of ethics centered around content standards, fair dealing, transparency, social responsibility and compliance with law.’’


It acknowledged that “The [BIR’s] circular is a timely reminder of the values that we champion for our members and the broader influencer community.”

“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. Furthermore, the said circular provides information as to how our members could benefit from certain tax treaties between the Philippines and its partner-countries. Ultimately, this information will help our members in avoiding double taxation,” CICP said.

Core values

“Among our organization’s core values is responsible citizenship which necessarily includes the payment of taxes because it is the lifeblood of our government and allows it to provide necessary services especially in these uncertain times. As such it is imperative among us, as citizens, to do our part by paying proper taxes. 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 said.

The BIR also warned of heftier fines and longer jail time for those profiting from their vlogs and viral social media content without paying taxes.

Most social media platforms are based overseas, hence some taxes were yet to be captured by the BIR, including the 12-percent value-added tax on goods and services.

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TAGS: BIR, bloggers, CICP, influencers, tax duties, vloggers
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