‘Weird’ and ‘necessary’ — social media influencers on the BIR memo

PIXABAY

Social media influencers said that the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) memorandum reminding them to pay taxes comes at a suspicious time, days after the Commission on Audit (CoA) flagged “various deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s (DoH) funds worth P67.3 billion — but that the memo was also necessary.

Isabela Maria D.P. Borres, an actor who has more than 400,000 followers in her monetized Instagram account, said that it was “weird” that the BIR released a clarificatory memo following the DoH’s budgeting issue: “It’s weird na ni-release yung ganyan after nag-release na yung DoH na may budget na ‘di na-pu-put into use nang maayos.”

“I’m sure that I’m paying taxes,” she said over the phone, adding that she has a personal accountant to handle her tax affairs and that it’s important to pay taxes regardless of where they go. “Kung ayaw makulong, kailangan magbayad ng tax.”

Social media influencers can make P30,000 per post — or much more depending on their clout.

Nicole Alba, a Generation-Z YouTuber with 287,000 subscribers, acknowledged that the BIR had reason to release the memo.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think most influencers pay their taxes, so I thought the reminder was necessary on BIR’s end,” she said. “I personally am registered and pay my taxes on my social media earnings,” she added.

The personal finance enthusiast told BusinessWorld that she pays her taxes through Taxumo, an online tax compliance tool.

Social media influencers can earn on platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, where revenues are proportional to an influencer’s followers and views. To be accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program, influencers need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours over the past 12 months.

Influencer Marketing Hub’s YouTube calculator estimates that the average YouTuber generates $7.60 per 1,000 views with 45% of that revenue going to Google. — Patricia B. Mirasol and Bronte H. Lacsamana

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