It’s Difficult for Filipino Freelancers to Pay Taxes

Posted by: on May 22, 2012 | 5 Comments

For those of you who don’t know me, I work online. I’m from the Philippines and I work with different clients mostly from Australia, UK and Canada doing various online assignments for them. Well, I’m working at the confines of my home and I want to pay my taxes but the Philippine government is making it hard for me to be a good citizen.

percentage-taxPaying our taxes has its benefits. Not only does it add to the coffers for the [personal] use of some of our public officials but it also gives you an annual Income Tax Return (ITR) form, a piece of paper that shows your proof of income and what most financial institutions requested when you apply for loan, credit card or even for a mobile postpaid number. If you’re employed, your taxes are automatically deducted every payday and filed by your employer so you just simply get a BIR Form 1700 which shows how much was deducted from your salary and added to the coffers of the Republic of the Philippines.

But lo and behold, it’s not that easy to pay your taxes when you’re an online freelancer because you don’t simply go to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and pay your taxes. In fact my sister who also works online went to the BIR’s office in Manila and was told by an officer that it’s not necessary to pay taxes as she does not issue any receipt. As a professional working online, you have to get a Business Permit from the Mayor’s Office and a whole lot of other requirements which allows you to have your receipt printed. IMO, it’s so weird why you really need to have some official receipt when you’ll not use them in the first place because I send my clients invoices using and others I bill them via oDesk or TaskArmy.

I recently had a discussion with a friend who used to work for the National Computer Center and I asked him about laws on e-commerce businesses or with regards to paying taxes for online freelancers like me.

taxBecause of red tape, our laws cannot keep up with the technologies. He mentioned that the existing law right now was the one passed last 2000 stating that Local Government Units (LGUs) should have a website [something to that note]. Even the BPOs they were the ones who have to help “create” their laws and have them passed because if they’ll wait for lawmakers to act on it, it’s going to take forever.

I believe there are others like me who’d be interested to pay their taxes but the red tape is just… Well red, it’s disheartening. I guess the government is missing out the opportunity to earn more for the coffers of the country by failing to make it easier for people who are “working from home” to pay our taxes.

Stay tuned as I’ll be writing more about my experiences on my journey in wanting to voluntarily pay my taxes as an online freelancer.

Until then, tah tah!


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  1. Mr. Ree
    July 2, 2012

    You are absolutely right! For the record, some freelancers do not have long-term jobs, as most of them are contractual only (some even lasting for just 3 days). For this kind of job, where one gets $50 for a 2-day project, does he have enough to spare for taxes?? And what if he’s not even sure if he could secure another project?? MAN! I would really love to pay taxes, BUT IF MY PROJECTS ARE ALL SHORT-TERM ONES then I’m sorry… I have many mouths to feed!

    • JessicaByw
      July 10, 2012

      Hi Mr. Ree,

      I understand where you’re coming at but I believe you can still file your ITR even if you don’t have any income for a specific period. As a full-time freelancer my only concern here is if I apply for future loans and the first requirement would be the ITR then I won’t qualify because technically I don’t have a “proof of income” even if I have a stable income from working online.

  2. yumi
    August 30, 2012

    this is so true. same here. That’s my dilemma too. I want to pay my taxes pero ang gulo kasi for freelancers… I’ll keep reading your blog for more info. Thanks :)

  3. JessicaByw
    August 31, 2012

    Hi Yumi,

    Thanks for dropping by. You might also find this helpful,

  4. Eneliva
    March 16, 2013

    Same dilemma!!! I want to pay my taxes because of my recent experience in having difficulty in acquiring a visa for a visit in China! My employer does not provide job orders nor a slight proof that I work for their company. :(


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