The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Monday issued a memorandum reminding social media influencers and content creators to earn for their online work to pay their taxes.

BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay issued the memorandum to remind social media influencers and online content creators of their tax obligations and possible consequences for failure to pay them.

The BIR defines social media influencers as those earning for their services as bloggers and video bloggers on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and Snapchat.

Under taxation rules, social media influencers are classified as self-employed persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors, according to the BIR.

The BIR also said that under Section 23 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, “citizens of the Philippines residing therein and domestic corporations shall be taxable on all income derived from sources within and without the Philippines.”

The BIR memorandum also took note that these social media influencers are not “registered with the BIR or are registered under different tax types or line of business but are also not declaring from social media platforms for tax purposes.”

“Whatever may be the reasons, it is now the most opportune time to discuss the tax obligations of these social media influencers,” it added.

Aside from paying income taxes, the BIR said influencers and content creators should also pay business taxes.

“Self-employed individuals whose gross sales or gross receipts and other non-operating income do not exceed the VAT threshold of P3,000,000 shall have the option to avail of the 8% tax on gross sales or gross receipts and other non-operating income,” the BIR said.

The BIR warned that failure to pay taxes or attempting to evade or defeat tax carries a fine of P500,000 to P10 million and detention of not less than six years but not more than 10 years. Failure to pay taxes may also be a violation of Section 255 of NIRC, which imposes at least P10,000 fine and imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than 10 years.

The BIR also advised its field offices to conduct “full-blown tax investigation” against social media influencers residing within their respective jurisdictions. Rommel F. Lopez