Tax Guidelines for E-Commerce Transactions and Electronic Filing and Payment System

Electronic Filing and Payment System

An overview of the Electronic Filing and Payment System by the BIR and BancNet. This briefing took place last November 13, 2013 at BancNet.

Tax Guidelines on E-Commerce Transactions in the Philippines

Last August 5, 2013, the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular number 55-2013. This intends to govern how individuals and businesses should handle their sales and taxes accordingly.

Here’s a summary I prepared and hope it will make it easier for e-commerce merchants, online shoppers, payment gateways, banks, credit card companies, freight forwarders in the Philippines to dissect this BIR Revenue Memorandum Circular. For professionals, including bloggers, this guide can also help.

1. E-Commerce Business Owners guide in issuing invoices, official receipts, acknowledgment receipts from buyers and service providers.

Sellers rendering the following services are covered by this guideline:

  1. Online shopping or online retailing – This includes e-commerce business owners who owns a website and sells their own products and services. An online shop, e-shop, e-store, internet shop, web shop, webstore, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar-retailer or shopping center.
  2. Online intermediary service – An intermediary is a third party that offers intermediation services between two trading parties. The intermediary acts as a conduit for goods or services offered by a supplier to a consumer, and receives commission therefor. In this case, the relationship between the intermediary and the merchant shall be that of a principal-agent relationship which shall be governed by their agreement including but not limited to the amount of commission, manner of transmitting the same, etc. However, in the following instances the intermediary service provider shall be considered the merchandiser / retailer itself:
    1. when consumers buy goods or services from an intermediary service provider who controls such collection of buyers’ payments, and thereafter receives commission from the merchant / retailer
    2. when the intermediary markets multiple products for its own account (considered retailer or merchandiser as to the said products).

E-Commerce Business Owners are required to issue invoices or official receipts to customers. Give acknowledgment receipt for amount received from payment gateways. Pay the commission of payment gateways net of withholding tax.

My understanding here is that local payment gateway providers who remits the amount of sale to merchants in net amount should create the necessary paper trail for merchants to become compliant in this provision and take the initiative of deducting the necessary tax in their sales and processing fee commission.

Like any other business establishments, persons who conduct business through online transactions and its permutations have the obligations to:

  1. Register the business at the Revenue District Office (RDO) having jurisdiction over the principal place of business / head office (or residence in case of individuals), by accomplishing BIR Form 1901 (for individuals) or 1903 (for corporations or partnerships), and pay the registration fee to any Authorized Agent Bank (AAB) located within the RDO. A BIR Certificate of Registration shall be issued by the RDO, reflecting therein the tax types required of the concerned taxpayer for filing and payment, which shall be displayed conspicuously in the business establishment;
  2. Secure the required Authority to Print (ATP) invoices / receipts and register books of accounts for use in business, which may either be:
    1. Manual books of accounts, booklets of invoices / receipts, accounting records or loose-leaf of such;
    2. Computerized Accounting System (CAS) and / or its components including e-Invoicing System under Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 21-2000 as amended by RMO No. 29-02.
  3. Issue registered invoice or receipt, either manually or electronically, for every sale, barter, exchange, or lease of goods and properties, as well as for every sale, barter, or exchange of service. Said invoice or receipt shall conform to the information
    requirements prescribed under existing revenue issuances, and shall be prepared at least in duplicate, the original to be given to the buyer and the duplicate to be retained by the seller as part of the latter’s accounting records;
  4. Withhold required creditable / expanded withholding tax, final tax, tax on compensation of employees, and other withholding taxes. Remit the same to the Bureau at the time or times required, and issue to the concerned payees the necessary Certificate of Tax Withheld.
  5. File applicable tax returns on or before the due dates, pay correct internal revenue taxes, and submit information returns and other tax compliance reports such as the Summary List of Sales / Purchases (SLS/P), Annual Alpha List of Payees, etc., at the time or times required by existing rules and regulations; and
  6. Keep books of accounts and other business / accounting records within the time prescribed by law, and such shall be made available anytime for inspection and verification by duly authorized Revenue Officer/s for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with tax rules and regulations.

The existing tax laws and revenue issuances on the tax treatment of purchases (local or imported) and sale (local or international) of goods (tangible or intangible) or services shall be equally applied with no distinction on whether or not the marketing channel is the
internet/digital media or the typical and customary physical medium.

Transactions thru Credit Card thru Banks Cash on Delivery or Pick-Up by the Customer
Online Shopping or Online Retailing-If buyer’s payment is: (a) issue electronically the BIR registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer;(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the credit card company for the amount received; and(c) pay the commission of credit card company net of 10% Expanded Withholding Tax (EWT). (a) issue Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) to the buyer for the payment of the goods / services; and(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the bank for the amount received. Issue either electronically or manually the BIR registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer.
If the Online Intermediary- control the collections / payments of buyers or markets products / services for its own account, and are therefor considered the retailer / merchant: (a) Issue electronically the invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer;(b) Issue acknowledgment receipt to the credit card company for the amount received;(c) Pay the commission of credit card company net of 10% EWT 

(d) Remit the balance to the merchant retailer net of intermediary’s agreed mark-up / commission (include in the said remittance to merchant / retailer the 10% EWT to be remitted by merchant to the BIR)

(a) issue the invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer;(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the bank for the amount received;(c) remit the amount to the merchant retailer net of intermediary’s agreed mark-up / commission (include in the said remittance to merchant / retailer the 10% EWT to be remitted by merchant to the BIR) 1. Secure the invoice / OR (official receipt) from the merchant before delivery of goods to buyer/performance of service and to;2. Issue either electronically or manually the BIR registered Invoice / OR (official receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer.3. Issue OR for the amount of commission received, if agent.
If the Online Intermediary is the agent of the merchant: (a) Issue the merchant’s acknowledgement receipt (for goods) / Official Receipt (for services) for buyer to claim the goods / service (in this case, the merchant acting as the principal shall assign a number of pads of such receipt to the intermediary / agent);(b) Ensure merchant delivers the goods to buyer with accompanying invoice or merchant performs the purchased service;(c) Issue OR (Official Receipt) to merchant for the full amount of the agreed commission, and reflecting therein the amount withheld by merchant. (a) Issue the merchant’s acknowledgement receipt (for goods) / Official Receipt (for services) for buyer to claim the goods / service (in this case, the merchant acting as the principal shall assign a number of pads of such receipt to the intermediary / agent);(b) Ensure merchant delivers the goods to buyer with accompanying invoice or merchant performs the purchased service;(c) Issue OR (Official Receipt) to merchant for the full amount of the agreed commission, and reflecting therein the amount withheld by merchant. 1. Secure the invoice / OR (Official Receipt) from the merchant before delivery of goods to buyer / performance of service and to2. Issue either electronically or manually the BIR registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer.3. Issue OR (Official Receipt) for the amount of commission received, if agent.

2. CUSTOMER or BUYER’s guide in receiving invoices and official receipts from sellers and service providers:

In this provision, the BIR clearly states the need for customers to receive an official receipt from any products or services availed of through e-commerce transactions.

Transactions thru Credit Card thru Banks Cash on Delivery or Pick-Up by the Customer
Online Shopping / Online RetailingIf payment to seller is: (a) Receive the Payment Confirmation, under the name of the merchant, for the purchase price charged by the credit card company; and(b) Receive Invoice/ OR (Official Receipt) from the merchant upon delivery of the goods or performance of service. (a) Receive validated copy of the deposit slips made in the name of the merchant; and(b) Receive Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) from the merchant upon delivery of the goods or performance of service. Receive either the electronic or manual registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of payment made to merchant / retailer.
Online Intermediary (a) Receive the Payment Confirmation from the credit card company for the purchase price charged; and(b) Receive Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) upon delivery of the goods or rendering of service. (a) Receive validated copy of the deposit slips made in the name of the intermediary or merchant, whichever if applicable; and(b) Receive Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) upon delivery of the goods or rendering of service. Receive either the electronic or manually registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) in the name of merchant / retailer coursed through the intermediary for the full amount of payment made to the intermediary.

3. Payment Gateways, Credit Card Companies, Banks, Freight Forwarders, Website Administrator requirements

3.1 Credit Card Companies are obliged to:

  1. Issue Payment Confirmation, in the name of the merchant-seller, for the purchase price charged to buyer;
  2. Remit to merchant-seller the price less EWT of ½ of 1%;
  3. Remit to BIR the EWT of ½ of 1%; and
  4. Receive agreed commission from merchant, net of EWT of 10%.

3.2 Banks (over the counter) are obliged to:

  1. Issue validated bank deposit slips in the name of merchant to the depositor-buyer; and
  2. Remit the amount to the merchant.

For this purposes, payment gateways / payment settlement entities refer to banks or other organizations and third party settlement organizations (such as payment centers) that has contractual obligation to make payment to participating payees in the settlement of the transactions. These include, but are not limited to, credit card companies, banks, financial institution, and bill paying services.

3.3. Freight Forwarders and Online Website Administrators are likewise obliged to issue, either electronically or manually, the BIR registered OR (Official Receipt) for the service fees paid by the merchant or advertisers.

4. Merchant / Retailer relationship with Online Intermediary Service

4.1 The Merchant / Retailer is obliged to:

  1. Issue Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) to the buyer;
  2. Receive payment from the intermediary net of commission but should include the 10% EWT on commission that should have been withheld from the intermediary; and
  3. Remit the 10% EWT on commission to the BIR.

5. Online Advertising Entity (Website, Blogs, and other forms of Online Advertising) and Advertisers Tax Guidelines

Online advertisement / classified ads are seen as a form of promotion that uses the Internet to deliver marketing messages to attract customers. Website owners, including blogs and forums, who offers various form of online advertising for a fee, I believe, are covered by this.

This is one part of the RMC where I wished another hearing was made to further clarify as it had provisions for online merchant payments. Where in this case, the online advertising entity acts as online merchant at this point. The buyer / customer instead is the customer. 

There are also intermediaries when it comes to online advertising. For now, my assumption is the earlier section above for online intermediaries shall apply in this case.

5.1 The Advertising Entity is obliged to:

  1. Issue either electronically or manually the BIR registered invoice / OR (Official Receipt) to the merchant or retailer for the full amount of advertising fee (amount received is net of withholding).
  2. Receive from the advertiser/merchant at the prescribed time a Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source (Form 2307) for the amount of tax withheld.
Transaction thru Credit Card thru Banks Cash on delivery or in the office of Online Advertising Entity
Online Advertising-If payment from Online Advertising Entity or Seller is received: (a) issue electronically the BIR registered Invoice / OR (Official Receipt) for the full amount of the sale to the buyer;(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the credit card company for the amount received; and(c) pay the commission of credit card company net of 10% Expanded Withholding Tax (EWT). (a) Receive validated copy of the deposit slips made in the name of the merchant; and(b) receive Invoice / OR (official receipt) from the merchant upon delivery of the goods or performance of service. The Buyer / Customer is required to receive either the electronic or manual registered Invoice / OR (official receipt) for the full amount of payment made to merchant/retailer.

5.2 Merchant/ Retailer
As Online Advertiser: Merchant/Retailer as online advertiser is obliged to:

  1. Pay the online advertising entity for the advertising fee, net of 2% EWT;
  2. Receive from said entity the BIR registered electronic copy or original copy of manually issued OR (official receipt) for the amount of advertising fee paid; and
  3. Remit to BIR the EWT from the advertising entity.
Transaction thru Credit Card thru Banks Cash on delivery or in the office of Online Advertising Entity
If payment to Online Advertising Entity or Seller is: (a) Receive the Payment Confirmation, under the name of the merchant, for the purchase price charged by the credit card company; and(b) receive Invoice / OR (official receipt)  from the merchant upon delivery of the goods or performance of service. (a) Receive validated copy of the deposit slips made in the name of the merchant; and(b) receive
Invoice / OR (official receipt) from the merchant upon delivery of the goods or performance of service.
The Buyer / Customer is required to receive either the electronic or manual registered Invoice / OR (official receipt) for the full amount of payment made to merchant / retailer.

6. Tax Guidelines for Online Auctions.

6.1 Online auction are auctions conducted through the Internet via an online service provider that specifically hosts such auctions. Through this service, the seller sells the product or service to the person who bids the highest price.

transaction thru credit card thru bank
Auction Webstores are required -
1. Buyer’s payment for voucher / coupon / bid packs2. Sale of Auctioned Item to the highest bidder
(a) issue electronically the BIR registered Invoice/OR to the buyer for the purchase price of bid packs (fee for right to participate in the bidding);(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the credit card company for the amount received; and(c) pay the commission of credit card company net of 10% WT. (a) issue Invoice / OR (official receipt) to the depositor-buyer for the payment of the bid packs; and(b) issue acknowledgment receipt to the bank for the amount received

6.2 For Merchant / Retailer selling through these sites, guidelines stated in #1 above shall apply.

6.3 The Buyer / Customer is required to pay the price of the bid packs to designated payment gateway: Consequently, he / she shall:

  1. Receive Payment Confirmation from the payment gateway for the amount paid for the bid packs;
  2. Receive from the auction webstore the BIR registered electronic copy or original copy of manually issued OR for the purchase of bid packs; and
  3. If winning bidder, he/she shall receive the goods/service together with the invoice/OR for the bid price of goods/service.

For inquiries about this lesson, contact Janette Toral by sending her a private message via Facebook.

Questions