Monday, May 20, 2019

The State of Online Taxation (eTSPs) in the Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Data Shows Filipino Freelancers As Major Taxpayers, with Millions of Pesos Paid

Taxumo, the Philippines’
pioneering online web-based tax filing and payment platform, reports that it has processed Php 7.8 Million worth of tax filings to date since its launch in December 2016, primarily from Filipino freelancers.
Sourcing from data collected Taxumo’s userbase, 55% of the total amount collected came from freelancers, showing not only the fast-rising contribution of this segment to the Philippine economy.

It is also interesting to note that Millenials dominate the online taxpayer population on the platform at 75.9%, distantly followed by Gen Z and Pre-Boomers, Boomers, & Generation X at 19.6% and 4.5% respectively.

Note: The definition of these generational groups are based on the official guidelines set by the Pew Research Center.

In terms of tax forms, 1701Q (Quarterly Income Tax) and 2551Q (Quarterly Percentage Tax) were the ones that were filed the most as of April 2019.

As per industry, 22% of the top tax contributions have been classified under Other Service Activities, followed by Other Computer Related Activities (8.66%), and coming in third would be those working in Life Insurance (6.47%).

Meanwhile, the remaining percentage of Taxumo’s tax filers were comprised of sole proprietors, whose top 3 contributors belong in the service, retail and software development activities.

Also, the data shows that the top Regional District Offices (RDOs) with the greatest tax
contributions are from Taguig which collected a little more than Php 1.5M, Pasig with a little less of Php 600K,and Parañaque receiving around Php 500K.

On the other hand, leading the pack for the most filings were those based in Parañaque,
followed by Taguig, and closely trailed by the filers listed under North Quezon City.

Since its launch, Taxumo has grown to over 12,000 users in its platform, with filings startingfrom a meager Php 12,611.89, to garnering a tax filing average of Php 3.4 million alone in 2019 (as of April 15, 2019.) All in all, there has been a 609% growth in terms of user growth from the start of year 2018, up until March of 2019.

Good News for the BIR & the Freelance Industry

What the data above suggests is that despite initial prediction that the majority of the platform’s tax filers would come from the earnings of business enterprises, it is a surprising and welcome discovery that a growing number of Taxumo’s dedicated tax filers consist of freelancers (consultants, writers, virtual assistants, etc.)

Freelance video editor & Taxumo user Steven Suñe says - “It is very important because our tax returns is the only way self-employed professionals can prove that we have a steady flow of income. We don’t have a certificate of employment, payslips and the like and most of the time you need to prove a steady income when applying for a visitor visa, credit cards, and loans. The ITR is the only way we can prove that we are earning”.

When asked why he chose Taxumo to file his taxes, he adds: “ When I registered as
self-employed in BIR, I realized I had no idea how to fill up the forms and pay my taxes. I didn’t have time to learn and do all of the paperwork. I found out about Taxumo because I wanted to find a convenient way to file and pay my taxes.”

This paints a more positive picture of the fast-growing freelance workforce who are proving to be more empowered and accountable with their finances, starting with becoming registered with the BIR and filing their taxes diligently.

“These stats have definitely helped us recognize even more our role in enabling freelancers and SMEs “get legit” and stress less about taxes. We are continuously at work in improving our services, which boils down to automating the whole tax process. By doing so, we get closer to our mission of helping many more Filipinos start and grow their own businesses.” says EJ Arboleda, Founder and CEO of Taxumo.

In conclusion, these stats only prove that the Freelance Industry shows no signs of backing down, and is in fact moving forward, not only in terms of more and more freelancers entering the industry, but also in terms of them being more aware and proactive in fulfilling their tax obligations.

● According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Annual Labor & Employment Estimates for 2017, there are approximately 11.2 million freelancers which make up 27.8% of the total employed in 2017.
● As published by The Philippine Star 2016, BIR deputy commissioner for Operations
Nelson Aspe said only 30 million out of the estimated 103 million Filipinos are registered taxpayers. That is less than a third of registered Filipinos that pay income tax.

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