More than 60,000 small businesses have registered under the Department of Industry (DTI) since the lockdown began in March. Only 1,700 businesses were able to register from January to March, which means more online entrepreneurs made the move to join the formal economy during the pandemic.

For those who failed to register during the given period, don’t worry because the Bureau of Internal Revenue has extended the deadline from July 31 to Aug. 31. This mandate still excludes businesses operating on an intermittent or irregular basis. Sellers earning less than P250,000 annually are also exempted to pay income taxes. The DTI estimated in June that there are probably more than six million unregistered micro entrepreneurs, with only 1.5 million in the government’s roster.

Taxing online businesses has been a provision since 2013, but the sudden strict compliance amid the pandemic was criticized as ill-timed. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez notes that entrepreneurs still need to secure a business permit to operate. The number of newly registered online businesses show a growing interest in the industry during the crisis. 

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