Eleazar vows to push for fair, clear guidelines on taxing social media influencers
MANILA, Philippines — Former PNP chief and senatorial candidate Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar vowed to push for a clear guideline on taxing social media influencers that include video bloggers, or vloggers.
Eleazar said news reports about the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) running after vloggers and social media influencers have sown fears and confusion among them, especially on the threat that they would be investigated and would even be sent to jail.
“Ang ilalaban natin ay magkaroon ng patas at malinaw na panuntutanan sa pagbabayad ng buwis ng mga social media influencers upang maiwasan natin ang kalituhan at pangamba,” said Eleazar.
“Karamihan sa mga social media influencers ay mga kabataan na dahil sa kanilang angking galing ay nabigyan ng oportunidad na kumita para sa kanila at para sa kanilang pamilya. Sarili nilang kayod ito at talaga namang pinag-hirapan,” he added.
He stressed: “Hindi maganda na pangit ang magiging unang impression nila tungkol sa pagbabayad ng buwis dahil naunang na-highlight sa mga report ang takot at pangamba na kakasuhan sila, kukumpiskahin ang mga ari-arian nila at ipapakulong pa sila.”
In August last year, the BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 97-2021, stating that social media influencers shall be liable to Income Tax and Percentage Tax or Value-Added Tax (VAT) pursuant to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997, as amended, and other existing laws.
The issuance of the Circular came after the BIR had received reports that some influencers are not doing their duty of paying taxes while some are not even registered with the BIR.
According to the BIR, social media influencers, other than corporations and partnerships, are classified for tax purposes as “self-employed individuals or persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors, and therefore, their income is generally considered as business income.”
The social media influencers are reminded to voluntarily and truthfully declare their income and pay their corresponding taxes without waiting for a formal probe to be conducted by the BIR to avoid being liable for tax evasion and for the civil penalty of 50% of the tax or of the deficiency tax.
Eleazar, former director of the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) said he would work with the BIR to ensure that social media influencers would be properly taxed for their earnings through proper guidelines.
He also called on the BIR to initiate measures to educate social media influencers about taxation.
“Maganda na maipaliwanag ng maayos lalo na sa mga kabataang social media influencers ang kahalagahan ng pagbabayad ng buwis upang maiwasan na rin ang mga hindi magagandang opinyon tungkol sa pagbabayad ng buwis at kinahihinatnan ng ibinayad na buwis,” said Eleazar.
In doing so, he explained that social media influencers could be the government’s partners in information dissemination about the importance of paying taxes.
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