Baguio City's unregistered online sellers warned
File photo shows houses crowding the slopes of the Quirino Hill area in Baguio City. The area, formerly known as Carabao Mountain, was declared a relocation site in the 1960s for residents awaiting issuance of titles to properties, according to local officials.
Artemio Dumlao

Baguio City's unregistered online sellers warned

Artemio Dumlao ( - May 31, 2020 - 9:43am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Baguio City is warning unregistered online sellers, many of whom started operating during the quarantine of Luzon, that they must have permits and must pay taxes.

Complaints that some of the businesses that operate online do not follow health safety standards, do not pay taxes, or do not have business permits have reached the city government, prompting Mayor Benjamin Magalong to order Permits and Licensing Chief Allan Abayao to "rein in said businesses."

According to initial findings by the Permits and Licensing Division, there are 250 unregistered online sellers in the city offering food and non-food items.

There are 52 registered online sellers and 22 dropping centers that renewed their business permits for 2020 even prior to ECQ on March 17, 2020. 

"Hence, it was just fair to advise these unregistered online sellers to process also their business permits in compliance with the mayor's directive and existing laws," Abayao said.

He said sellers must abide by tax laws and regulations.

Widespread work suspensions during the months of community quarantine have led many, not just in Baguio City, to venture into online selling.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Memorandum Circular 55-2013 reiterates taxpayers' obligation in relation to online business transaction in the country, including online shopping or online retailing. Like any other business establishments, a person who conducts business online must be registered with the government.

The City Tax Ordinance No. 2000-001 also provides that “ shall be unlawful for any person to engage in any such business, trade... without first obtaining a permit and paying the taxes, fees and other charges required thereof.”

Abayao said the issuance of business permits is consistent with the city's practice in the business sector in the "new normal". 

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