BIR Imposes 1% Withholding Tax on Online Merchants
Navigating Change: BIR Introduces Withholding Tax Amendments for E-Marketplace Operators and Digital Financial Services

Navigating Change: BIR Introduces Withholding Tax Amendments for E-Marketplace Operators and Digital Financial Services

Posted on January 17, 2024

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) announced that online merchants/sellers with earnings amounting to more than P500,000 annually are now subject to a 1% withholding tax.

BIR Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2023, dated December 21, 2023, brings about crucial amendments to the existing provisions of RR No. 2-98. These changes specifically target the imposition of withholding tax on gross remittances made by electronic marketplace operators and digital financial service providers to sellers/merchants.

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What are the key highlights of RR No. 16-2023? 

The central focus of RR No. 16-2023 is the introduction of a 1% withholding tax on half of the gross remittances by e-marketplace operators and digital financial service providers to sellers/merchants for the goods or services transacted through their platform/facility.

What are gross remittances based on the RR?

Gross remittances, as defined by Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2023, refer to the total amount of funds transmitted or transferred by electronic marketplace operators and digital financial service providers to sellers/merchants for goods or services sold or paid through their platform/facility. The withholding tax of 1% is applied to half of these gross remittances. It is essential for businesses to accurately determine and account for gross remittances to ensure compliance with the withholding tax requirements outlined in the regulation.

Are there exclusions to the gross remittances?

Yes, according to Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2023, certain exclusions affect the determination of gross remittances. These exclusions encompass sales returns and discounts, separately billed delivery or shipping fees, value-added tax collected by the e-marketplace operator from the online consumer and subsequently remitted to the online seller, and consideration for the use of the e-marketplace and/or digital financial services platform. 

Businesses should be attentive to these exclusions to accurately calculate the withholding tax on gross remittances as per the stipulations in the regulation.

Are there any exemptions on RR No. 16-2023? 

Yes, to ensure a balanced approach, the regulation outlines exemptions under the following circumstances:

  • Annual total gross remittances to an online seller/merchant for the past taxable year have not exceeded ₱500,000.
  • Cumulative gross remittances to an online seller/merchant in a taxable year have not yet exceeded ₱500,000.
  • The seller/merchant is duly exempt from or subject to a lower income tax rate as per any existing law or treaty. Sellers/merchants must provide proof of entitlement for an exemption or a lower income tax rate to the concerned e-marketplace operator or digital financial services provider.

How will the amendments affect implications for businesses? 

These changes underscore the need for e-marketplace operators and digital financial service providers to align with the updated withholding tax rates. Adhering to these regulations is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding potential penalties.

As businesses navigate through these changes, CloudCfo stands ready to provide expert guidance and support. Our seasoned professionals understand the intricacies of these new regulations and can assist businesses in ensuring compliance while optimizing their financial processes.

For those seeking personalized assistance and expert insights on how these tax changes might impact their business, CloudCfo encourages inquiries. Let us handle the complexities while you focus on growing your business. Inquire now and ensure a seamless transition with CloudCfo.

FAQs on BIR Introduces Withholding Tax Amendments for E-Marketplace Operators and Digital Financial Services

What are Revenue Regulations (RR)?

Revenue Regulations (RR) are official guidelines and rules issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Philippines. These regulations provide detailed instructions and interpretations of tax laws, aiming to clarify and ensure consistent application in various business and financial transactions.

What are examples of an electronic marketplace?

Electronic marketplaces, often referred to as e-marketplaces, are online platforms that facilitate the buying and selling of goods and services. Examples include popular platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora, where multiple sellers can offer their products to a wide range of buyers.

What are digital financial services?

Digital financial services encompass a broad range of financial transactions and services conducted through digital channels. This includes online banking, mobile payments, digital wallets, peer-to-peer lending, and other technology-driven financial activities that provide convenient and efficient alternatives to traditional financial services.

Is withholding tax a requirement for businesses?

Yes, withholding tax is a mandatory requirement for businesses, particularly when making payments that are subject to withholding. In the context of the recent changes outlined in Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2023, e-marketplace operators and digital financial service providers are now required to withhold 1% on half of the gross remittances made to sellers/merchants for goods or services transacted through their platform.

What will happen if a business does not withhold taxes?

Failure to comply with withholding tax requirements may lead to penalties and legal consequences. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) enforces tax regulations to ensure businesses meet their obligations. Non-compliance with withholding tax obligations may result in fines, interest charges, and other legal actions. Businesses must stay informed about tax regulations and fulfill their withholding tax responsibilities to avoid these repercussions.

DISCLAIMER: This article is strictly for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article constitutes or intends to constitute financial, accounting, regulatory or legal advice and must not be used as a substitute for professional advice. It is still necessary to consult your relevant professional adviser regarding any specific matter referenced above.

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