Freelancers’ Questions About Taxation, Answered!

I have seen a shift in the mindset of a lot of freelancers (for this working online and for those rendering offline services). Back in 2013, when we at Manila Workshops started to create learning events for Freelancers and aspiring freelancers, we saw that most of them were in that realm of trying things out. Some of the freelancers that we encountered were starting a freelancing career and most of them were still thinking of starting. Four years after, we see that now, a lot of them want to make this their full time profession. They want to make this a career and their main source of income.

Since they will make this their primary source of income, a lot of questions on legitimising and registration with the government come up. As you know, as a freelancer, you need to fix and do everything (as an employee, people in HR do it for you). Registering as a freelancer in the Philippines is actually quite easy. I kid you not! You just need resources (like this article) to guide you.

Do I need to pay taxes even if I earn only a little from Freelancing?

Yes, you need to pay taxes, and it’s clearly stated in Section 74 in the Philippine Tax Code. It says that for as long as you receive income, regardless of the source (even from international entities), you are required to pay taxes. Again, we are seeing more freelancers pay taxes because of their need for a proof of their income which they will use to get VISAs, loans, health cards or HMO plans, etc.

Please do not wait for the time that you will need this for your VISA. Taxumo cannot magically create an ITR for you 🙂 Plus for Visa applications, what embassy’s want to see is your credibility and stability, meaning you frequently and REGULARLY FILE.

So, I’m now earning a small amount of money from my freelancing career, but I am also employed. How do I declare my income to the Bureau of Internal Revenue?

First, you have to register as a non-PRC Licensed professional. You may opt not to have a DTI Certificate of Registration. In DTI you reserve the name of your business, which is something that is not really that important if you’re registering as an individual. As a freelancer, you will just need to get an Occupational Tax Receipt or Occupational Permit and Barangay Clearance from your Municipal Hall. You won’t need to get a business permit that Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships and Corporations will need.

After you have these, just collate the other documents needed before going to the BIR. Check your requirements here by clicking on the button “Apply as a non-licensed professional”:

What are the instances when I need to get a barangay business permit and clearance?

For example, you are a yoga teacher that is commissioned by different yoga studios, you need not get a barangay permit. Once you open your own studio though, this becomes a sole proprietor/business that you will need to register. You will need to go to DTI and the Municipal Hall, and of course, BIR. If you don’t have employees, you need not go to SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig, since you will just have to pay for your own SSS/PHIC/Pag-ibig contributions under your own identification number as a voluntary contributor.

For employees, they have to option to opt for “substituted filing”, which means they are exempted from filing an income tax returns on their own. To qualify, one should have only worked for one employer during a calendar year and has no other sources of income. This can be availed by signing off on the Form 2316 (proof of remittance of payroll tax) provided by employers after the end of the year, or after an employee has moved on. The Form 2316 will then be submitted by the employer (or ex-employer) to the BIR.

If one has worked for more than one employer during a calendar year, he or she would have to file for either of the following:

Form 1700 – use this form if one has no other sources of income other than employment income, and add all employment income and deduct all payroll taxes withheld by employer(s), and pay remaining tax due (if any). This is used if you are transferring from one employer to another.

**Please chat with with us at if you want to avail of this service (Chat button is at the lower right hand side of the

Form 1701* – use this form if one has other sources of income in addition to employment income, or earning purely business income; use this form to report all sources of income (employment, business, others). This is the form that will be used for people who opted for Itemized Deduction or are mixed income employees (have a day job and earning from a side business)

*Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are required to also file quarterly income tax forms (Form 1701Q) in addition to the annual Form 1701. However, employment income are not required to be included in the quarterly tax returns as these are to be reported only at year-end.

Please check this out:

What is this new form called 1701A?

Form 1701A – Please use this form if one has no other sources of income but their business income or income from profession. This is a new form released by the BIR for those who chose the Optional Standard Deduction Method (OSD) or opted in for 8% GRT in the previous year

Please check this out:

Again, you should have filed 1701Q regularly every quarter.

How do I file my Annual Income Tax?

If you are at a lost on how to file your Annual income tax, please read this article:

Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are also required to pay quarterly taxes. Depending on their classification (see section below), they will need to file either (updated for TRAIN):

Under Professional – Graduated Income Tax Table:

  • Non Vat / Percentage taxes (Form 2551Q) – gross revenues x 3% or VAT (Forms 2550M and 2550Q) – gross revenues x 12%, less the VAT charged by VAT-registered vendors/suppliers
  • Quarterly Income taxes (Form 1701Q) – Graduated Tax Table

Under Professional – 8% GRT Income Tax Rate

  • Quarterly Income taxes (Form 1701Q) – 8% of Gross Receipts or Gross Sales

But before going to taxation, what are the requirements to register as a freelancer in BIR?

First of all, you have to decide on a business address. The city where your business address will be should match the Revenue District Office of the BIR that your TIN will be attached to. If you previously worked in Makati, and have decided to use your home address in Pasig as your business address, be sure to transfer your TIN from the Revenue District in Makati to the Revenue District in Pasig. Just fill up the form 1905 (Download Form 1905) then submit it at the current Revenue District Office. Wait for at least a week before going to the new RDO to register as a freelancer.;

The list of the BIR Revenue District Offices is here:

Once I have transferred my RDO, what should I do?

You should fill out the form 1901 (download Form 1901). You can get it from the Officer of the day or from the guard from the entrance of the RDO.

For the Taxpayer Type, as a freelancer, choose professional – In General. (It’s best though to ask the Officer of the Day on how they classify Freelancers).

Be sure also that you start as a Non-Vat entity. Vat Entities are those that earn Php 3.00 Million a year. Be sure also that you say that you still don’t have employees, if you’re working alone. Check the form, and ASK QUESTIONS before signing and submitting the form.

Each form is only at Php 500 which you can pay at the Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) near the RDO using form 0605. There will also be a certification fee and you also have to pay for Documentary Stamps. These will be around Php 30 to Php 50. You will get the Certificate of Registration a week or two weeks after.

Before leaving the Revenue District Office though, you can order for you Official Receipt booklet. Some of the accredited suppliers are in the BIR premises. If you don’t see them, just ask the BIR Officer the details of the supplier that you may contact. One order is normally 10 booklets at the minimum. This may cost 1000 to 2000 pesos for 10 booklets (depends on the design and if duplicate or in triplicate).

When you go back for the Certificate of Registration, you will also receive the following: ATP or Authority to Print and your books of accounts. The BIR will stamp your books of accounts (journal/ledger/subsidiary professional income book and subsidiary purchases/expenses book) and also your official receipts.

You will know if you are registered when you have your Certificate of Registration. Once you have your COR or form 2303, you SHOULD already start filing and paying for your taxes. Be sure to file even if you haven’t earned anything for the month.

Here is the schedule for the tax deadlines for a Non-Vat Entity

Quarterly Percentage Tax (Form 2551Q) – BIR Deadline is on April, July, October and January of the next year (usually on the 25th of these months).
Quarterly Income Tax (Form 1701Q) – Q1 is on May 15 / Q2 is on August 15 / Q3 is on November 15 / Annual Income Tax Return is on April 15 of the following year.

Once you have your Certificate of Registration, this is where Taxumo, an online web application service can help you file and pay for your taxes. All you need to do is:

  • Copy the details in your Certificate of Registration to your Taxumo Profile
  • Fill in your income and expenses tabs
  • Click on the tax cost to submit your tax filing
  • Payment can be done online, too! (You can even pay via PayPal! Just go to
  • Taxumo will save your BIR confirmation and the payment confirmation in your dashboard as proof of payment.
  • Their deadline is 5 days earlier than the BIR deadline

YOU’RE DONE! It’s so simple. Please view this video if you need more information.

I hope this article helps! Go to Taxumo’s YouTube Channel for newer videos! 🙂

Love lots,



These are other links to some other articles that can help you:


If you want Taxumo to help you out with your Business Registration, you can sign up here:


PPPS. Here is another article that you can read from my friend, Levy!


  1. June 12, 2020 / 2:39 am

    Hi Mommy Ginger, I have a question. I’m working online and I also have online apparel business, what’s the process in registering to BIR since I can be considered as self-employed freelancer and online seller? Do I need to register both? I’m really confused.

    • June 12, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      Hi Cheryl! Yes, you have to register it since selling services and selling goods are different businesses. If you are currently employed as a professional, you will need to get another COR which will probably be a new “branch” so the tin for that business will be XXX-XXX-XXX-001 🙂 In some cases naman, BIR just asks you to change the line of business in your current COR (example: business 1 / business 2) when the two businesses are not that different from each other. Either way, you will need to ask your RDO to update your record for this new line of business. 🙂 The officer of the day will tell you what to do. Bring na all of the requirements. If you need help, please email 🙂

  2. Nicole
    June 14, 2020 / 1:24 am

    Hello, Mommy Ginger.
    I currently work as a part-time college lecturer and I’m planning to also register as a freelance fiber artist (I customize yarn colors/designs for crochet or knitting on a made to order basis). Will securing an OTR be enough? or do I need to register as well for a business permit because of the goods (finished products) that will be a product of my service? I’m quite confused as to where or what category I belong in.

    P.S. I’d be freelancing alongside my current employment, which will make me a mixed-income taxpayer, right?

    Thank you so much!

    • June 14, 2020 / 12:23 pm

      Hi Nicole! You will need to complete the process and register with the BIR as well. In your case, since you are selling goods, it’s best to register as a sole proprietor. 🙂 Please email to get the complete requirements and the templates. And yes, you are correct, you will be a mixed income taxpayer 🙂 Hope this helps!

  3. Queenie
    September 6, 2020 / 12:40 pm

    Hi Mommy Ginger,
    I just recently registered as a self-employed freelancer. I heard that one needs to maintain books of accounts. Can you recommend resources where I can learn how to do this. I am clueless about it! I am only expecting minimal income, so the prospect of hiring a bookkeeper may be too expensive for me. Thanks!

    • September 7, 2020 / 7:25 am

      Hi Queenie! 🙂 Why don’t you try Taxumo? They generate the books of accounts reports and then I copy it into my manual books nalang. I don’t know how to format so I just copy… hehe 🙂

      • Queenie
        September 7, 2020 / 10:26 am

        thanks for the quick reply, Mommy Ginger! So I can just copy? That’s great! I’ll check out Taxumo. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Raffy Cosuco
    October 20, 2020 / 3:41 pm

    Hello Mommy Ginger,

    We just established a small company and to save on cost, we plan to avail of Virtual Office services in Makati. I read from Taxumo website that it is a requirement of BIR for registration to submit the lease contract or the copy of title (if the business address or place of business is owed by the company or probably by one of the incorporators). How can we comply on this if our business office address is only “virtual.” Does the BIR refuse to register this kind of set-up with businesses registering under the Virtual Office set up? Do they not recognize virtual office per se as the official business address to be registered with them? I am little bit confused since many firms are now offering Virtual Office service and part of their package is the use of their premium address for business registration and yet, BIR would require a lease contract just to be registered with them? At any rate, can a virtual office agreement with the company offering Virtual Office would suffice? Thank you in advance for your reply.


    • October 21, 2020 / 6:49 pm

      Hi Raffy! I you are using a virtual address, usually the virtual address company will give you all of these documents that you need. Just let them know 🙂 BIR will allow this just as long as you bring all the documents that they ask for (include your contract with that virtual office) 🙂

  5. Alyssa
    April 23, 2021 / 10:22 pm

    Hello po! I would like to ask po. So I’m working for a company based in the USA as a designer but it’s a contract only. And I also do freelance design at the side and I also have an online store at Lazada but I am not registered in DTI instead I am represented by the Online Micro Sellers Marketing Cooperative. Being a member for the cooperative is required for micro sellers that’s not registered at DTI so that we’re selling legally. They’re representing and providing us and our customers with our receipts and other services. My question is what form should I file? Is it the Form 1701 not the Form 1701A?

    Thank you for this helpful post po!

  6. Manuel
    July 31, 2021 / 6:21 am

    HI, Mommy G! Thank you for this insightful blogpost. I just have a specific question: Paano if I work as a freelancer hired by foreigners living outside PHL and then payments are made via PayPal and via direct bank transfer. Tapos, I am also employed here in the PH by a Filipino-owned agency. My questions are:
    – Do I have to register pa rin as a non-professional/freelancer?
    – If yes, and assuming I have registered myself as a freelancer, how will this affect my filing of taxes in comparison sa taxes filed by my employer here in the PH? What form will I have then to fill in?
    – How will it differ if foreigner po yung nag-hire sa kin as a freelancer? Do I issue receipts to them?

    Thank you! Taxumo led me to your blog and this is really helpful! Would be glad to connect further!

    • August 2, 2021 / 12:58 pm

      Here are my replies:
      1. Yes, you have to. You have to declare the income that you earn from that client since you are working as a freelancer and based here in the Philippines.
      2. You will be what we call a mixed income individual. You will have to file taxes for your freelancing business (on a quarterly basis) and then get the 2316 from your employer at the end of the year and declare that together with your taxes to be paid (annual income tax return).
      3. None really. You just write on the ORs that you have and keep it lang since they don’t have any use for our receipts here. 🙂

      If you need to understand how Taxumo works, it’s best that you join the onboarding sessions. 🙂


  7. JM
    April 18, 2022 / 10:11 pm

    Hi Mommy Ginger! 🙂

    I’m a self-employed professional planning to register and pay taxes for this year but I have plans on moving to another country early next year, what happens to my BIR registration and will I be required to pay anything per month while I’m in another country?

    Thanks for the answer!

    • May 4, 2022 / 8:27 am

      You’ll still need to file zero when you move to another country. I recommend that you subscribe to Taxumo Lifeline for automated filing for non-operational businesses 🙂

  8. John
    October 15, 2022 / 6:02 am

    I’d like to register by the end of this month. And from what I learned, Q3 deadline for Income Tax is Nov 15. So if I register now as a professional – in general, does that mean I have to file and pay in Nov 15 for the earnings I made from July to September? Mejo naguguluhan ako hehe. thanks!

    • November 1, 2022 / 5:53 pm

      The Nov. 15 deadline is for your Q3 revenue and expenses 🙂 Hope this answers your question 🙂

  9. Arnaldo Canetty
    February 20, 2024 / 7:53 am

    I have a girlfriend in the Philippines, waiting to be retired to be with her, I send money to help her and that is not a problem because it’s from my income, but I want to open for her an account from a forex broker that way she could have an income sooner or later, I will do all the trading from my side on her name. My concern is when the money starts to flow to her bank account, or before that, how it is register, what type of registration (individual taxes), anything that needs to be done, that way she could not have any problem with taxes in her country. Can you advise me. Thanks

    • March 15, 2024 / 12:05 pm

      Hi there! She can apply as a non licensed professional. Then she can declare income using this registration. Feel free to chat with the CSRs in They’re very helpful 🙂

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