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Tax chief sets sights on Uber, etc.

LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez and BIR chief Kim Henares both have reasons to welcome Uber and similar companies. File photos

LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez and BIR chief Kim Henares both have reasons to welcome Uber and similar companies. File photos

The taxman wants a piece of the “app” action.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is discussing with transport authorities ways to better track the tax payments of transportation network companies, or TNCs, like Uber and their partner drivers, according to Commissioner Kim Henares.

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“We are coordinating and discussing (it) with the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board),” Henares said in a text message on Wednesday when asked if the bureau was already looking into the tax compliance of Uber drivers.

Uber drivers are considered nonfixed income earners. They issue receipts to their customers online. A number of them have been servicing passengers since last year.

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Henares said the BIR may soon come out with a new regulation specifically covering drivers of Uber vehicles and other TNCs “if needed.” She went on to remind Uber and other similar companies that all business enterprises have tax dues that must be paid
correctly.

“Like any businesses, they are covered by the laws of taxation on entities engaged in business—from registration to issuance of receipts, to filing and payment of taxes,” she pointed out. “They are engaged in the provision of services and are covered by all the provisions of the Tax Code for business engaged in the provision of services.”

The BIR chief made her position known on the newly created category of transportation services on the same day the LTFRB approved Uber’s accreditation as a TNC.

LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez, citing information from Uber general manager in Manila Laurence Cua, said the ride-sharing app currently has partner vehicles numbering “a few thousands” in Metro Manila.

The first batch of franchise applications for Uber’s partner vehicles—now called Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS)—was set to be filed by Uber at the agency’s Quezon City office Wednesday night.

GrabCar, another app-based transportation service, was earlier accredited by the board as TNC and facilitated the franchise applications of its partners or “peer vehicles” on Tuesday. The company then sent boxes containing 160 folders each representing the first batch of applicants.

Brian Cu, managing director of GrabTaxi Philippines, said the company currently has about 2,000 peer vehicles.

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LTFRB personnel worked even on a holiday—Aug. 19 being Quezon City Day—to process the applications within the deadline Thursday. Starting Friday, vehicles operating as TNVS but are not yet accredited may be apprehended and fined, Ginez said.

Considering that Uber Systems was incorporated in 2013, “I suppose they know the law and they know how taxation is. But let that be for the BIR to ascertain,” Ginez said when told of Henares’ statements.

TNCs are charged a filing fee of P10,000 while TNVS operators must pay P520 for the registration of the first two units and P70 for each additional unit.

The app-based transport category was created through memorandum circulars issued by the LTFRB in May.

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TAGS: BIR, kim henares, LTFRB, Taxes, taxman, TNC, Transportation, Uber, Winston Ginez
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