BIR imposes 1% withholding tax on online merchants

By Anna Leah Gonzales

December 29, 2023, 6:01 pm

MANILA – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has announced that online merchants with earnings amounting to more than PHP500,000 annually are now subject to a 1-percent withholding tax.

BIR Revenue Regulation 16-2023, issued last December 21, said the withholding tax will apply to one-half of the gross remittances by electronic marketplace operators and digital financial services providers to the sellers or merchants for the goods or services sold through their platform.

The BIR defines an electronic marketplace as a "digital service platform whose business is to connect online buyers/consumers with online sellers/merchants, facilitate and conclude the sales, process the payment of the products, goods or services through such digital platform, or facilitate the shipment of goods or provide logistic services and post-purchase support within such platforms."

These include marketplaces for online shopping, food delivery platform, and platform for accommodation booking.

The BIR clarified, however, that the withholding tax will not be imposed if the annual total gross remittances to an online seller do not exceed PHP500,000.

The withholding tax shall not apply "if the cumulative gross remittances to an online seller/merchant in a taxable year has not yet exceeded PHP500,000," the BIR said.

Sellers subject to a lower income tax rate pursuant to any existing law are also excluded.

The BIR said the regulations shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation, whichever comes first. (PNA)