Senator Joel Villanueva was disappointed after being informed about the announcement of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) urging online sellers to reveal their past transactions, register their businesses, and start to pay taxes.
Villanueva expressed his frustration on Twitter, asking BIR why they’re now targeting small online sellers who only trying to find a source of income amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawmaker urged the BIR to focus on trying to collect the taxes from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGOs) instead of forcing the small businesses to pay the government.
“On BIR taxing online sellers: Pasalamat nga tayo at madiskarte ang mga Pilipino. Wala na ngang ayuda, i t-tax nyo pa. Hindi naman milyon milyon ang kinikita ng maliliit na online sellers. #PusoNaman,” Villanueva said.
“Dapat tutukan ng BIR ang POGO na may utang na P50B na tax last year pa. Ngayong COViD 19, pwede bang kapakanan ng mga kababayang Pilipino muna natin ang manguna? #PusoNaman,” he added.
Dapat tutukan ng BIR ang POGO na may utang na P50B na tax last year pa. Ngayong COViD 19, pwede bang kapakanan ng mga kababayang Pilipino muna natin ang manguna? #PusoNaman
— Joel Villanueva (@senatorjoelv) June 11, 2020
On Thursday, the BIR issued a circular informing “all persons doing business and earning income in any manner or form, specifically those who are into digital transactions through the use of any electronic platforms and media, and other digital means, to ensure that their businesses are registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 236 of the Tax Code, as amended, and that they are tax compliant.”
“These shall include not only partner sellers or merchants, but also other stakeholders involved such as the payment getaways, delivery channels, internet service providers, and other facilitators,” the BIR document read.
Businesses that declare their status before July 31 were free from penalties for late registration.
“All those who will be found later doing business without complying with the registration or update requirements, and those who failed to declare past due taxes or unpaid taxes shall be imposed with the applicable penalties under the law, and existing revenue rules and regulations,” BIR said.
Meanwhile, Malacanang clarified that small online business owners earning 250,000 every year are not required to pay taxes.
“If your online business net income does not exceed P250,000 eh wala po talaga kayo ibabayad (you don’t have to pay),” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.