Thinking of making quick bucks? The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has a bright suggestion: tip the bureau about tax-evading social media influencers and get a P1 million reward for your troubles.
Apparently, awarding the hefty incentive for intelligence has been implemented for almost one and a half-decade by the bureau, according to tax expert and former BIR examiner Mon Abrea. In an interview with One News, Abrea reminded the public of the reward that awaits them in exchange for helping the bureau track down tax evaders.
“‘Yun ‘yung hindi masyado alam ng publiko. Tayo mismo pwede kumita…‘pag sinabi natin o tinuro natin ‘yung mga kasama natin na mukhang hindi nagbabayad ng buwis,” Abrea told One News’ Agenda.
Republic Act No. 2338, or the Informer’s Reward Act, was written into law back in 1959 aims to hunt down “frauds upon the internal revenue or customs laws, or violations of any of the provisions” and bestows 25% of the revenues, surcharges or fees recovered, or fine or penalty imposed and collected.”
This would be modified in less than four decades later to become the Republic Act 8424 or the Tax Reform Act of 1997, a section of which states that a person who “voluntarily” shares information on possible irregularities to get “a mere ten percent (10%) reward or PHP 1 million, whichever is lower.”
Sly social media influencers
The bureau has been on the prowl in recent weeks, particularly targeting social media influencers who have been flying under the radar and flaking out on their tax obligations.
In the Memorandum Circular 97-2021 of the BIR released last August 16, the agency claims to have received reports that certain influencers have not been paying their income tax despite earning huge incomes across various virtual platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat.
“Whatever may be the reasons, it is now the most opportune time to discuss the tax obligations of these social media influencers,” the memorandum read.
In light of popular vlogging pair JaMill pulling the plug on their YouTube channel with 12 million followers, the agency also reminded influencers that they can still track their transactions and make them accountable.
“Closed or open, there is always a way for us to determine how much you have earned even though you are already off the air,” Cabreros said per Rappler. “‘Yung pumapasok sa bank account mo na mga payment …there is a way of tracing that one. There is a payor. There is YouTube, there is data, there is a paper trail.”
“The easiest basis here is when you don’t have a TIN (tax identification number) or you are not registered. This is for sure tax evasion because you earn a huge amount but you are not registered,” he added.
“Dapat patas tayo kasi ‘yung mga kababayan natin na empleyado fixed income earner pero nabawas na ‘yung tax bago pa nila matanggap ‘yung sahod nila.”