Ever since I posted on my Instagram stories that I’m a registered freelancer, a few friends have messaged me how I did it. Some of them also asked why I did it! So if you’re wondering how to register as a freelancer in the Philippines, here’s a step-by-step guide. I hope this article helps answer some questions you might have.
Why Register as a Freelancer in the Philippines?
When I started my blog in 2013, I had no idea that it would eventually provide me with extra income on top of what I was making from my full-time job. But as the years passed and my readership and following grew, so did the sponsorships and paid gigs. So when I resigned from my full-time job last May 2020 to focus on freelancing, I decided to register.
This is because under the Philippine government, any income you earn is taxable. That includes sponsored or paid content that I post on my blog and social media channels. Moreover, I offer my services as a makeup artist and as a writer and editor. At times, I get hired to give talks and workshops as well! Apart from avoiding legal consequences, registering as a freelancer has several benefits.
It Improves Your Credibility
When you register, the Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR will issue a Certificate of Registration (COR) or Form 2303 that serves as your proof that you are a legitimate business. My Certificate of Registration states that my lines of businesses or industries are:
- Dramatic Arts, Music, and Other Arts Activities (for being a writer, editor, and content creator)
- Hairdressing and Other Beauty Treatments (for being a makeup artist)
You’re Able to Issue Official Receipts
Most big companies require official receipts as proof of their expense. When I wasn’t registered yet, a friend who works for GMA wanted to hire me to be their makeup artist for a campaign. But he couldn’t because I couldn’t provide an official receipt! Nowadays, I’m able to work with bigger brands and companies.
You Update Your Tax Records
An accountant friend told me about this. If ever you need to apply for a travel visa or bank loan, which requires an income tax return or ITR, you’ll have one to present.
Who is Considered as a Freelancer in the Philippines?
Freelancers fall under the self-employed category. Self-employed individuals are defined as:
- Persons engaged in business and derive their personal income from such business
- Professionals such as (1) “persons who derive their income practicing their profession” and (2) those “who pursue an art and make their living therefrom”
Doctors, lawyers, consultants, virtual assistants, website developers, graphic artists, content writers, bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters are a few who fall under this category.
What are the Requirements to Register as a Freelancer in the Philippines?
Below is a list of requirements you need to prepare or take note of. For the documents, make sure to have the original copy and photocopies.
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
I was able to get my TIN through my very first employer. If you don’t have one yet, you can get one through BIR’s eREg.
Revenue District Office (RDO)
When my first employer applied for a TIN for me, I didn’t know that they applied me in the RDO in Pasig because that was also the RDO of the company. I had to go to that RDO to request for them to transfer my records to the RDO that covers my home address. I had to fill up two copies of Form 1905. Processing my request didn’t take too long since I went first thing in the morning.
For some reason, a birth certificate is another requirement. I easily ordered mine through PSA Helpline. Make sure to have a photocopy since BIR won’t be getting the original one. They only need it for verification purposes.
The ID needs to have your name, address, and birth date. I brought both my Driver’s License and Passport just in case.
This is different from a Barangay Clearance. I was easily able to get a Barangay Certificate that states I work as an online freelancer since the barangay was walking distance from our house.
BIR Form 1901
This is known as the Application of Registration. You need to fill up two copies. The form is quite long and had I known this, I would have just downloaded it online and filled it out at home instead of at the RDO. I think it was in this form that I changed my status from employed to self-employed. But if you’re working full-time and also have sideline jobs, you can declare yourself as a mixed-income earner. This indicates that you earn from both being employed and self-employed.
If you’re not able to download the forms, every RDO has them anyway. In my RDO, they were organized on a shelf near the entrance. Make sure to bring your own pen!
BIR Form 0605
This is another form you’ll need to submit and is known as the Payment for Application of Registration. Fill up three copies. I don’t remember how much I paid exactly but I do remember having to pay for my application of registration and for BIR to print my official receipts. I think the annual registration fee is P500. You have to pay a certification fee and the documentary stamp tax as well, which are about P15 each.
Heading to the BIR to Register as a Freelancer in the Philippines
Once you have all your requirements, submit everything to your RDO. Again, I went first thing in the morning to avoid crowds and long lines. You can ask what window is the New Business Registrant Counter or the window where freelancers can register. After submitting the requirements and paying the fees, I got my COR or Form 2303 in an hour! I also applied for my official receipt booklets that same day but I had to go back a week later since they still needed to print them. The receipts are valid for five years.
What to Do After You Register as a Freelancer in the Philippines
Once you have your Form 2303 and your official receipts, make sure to issue an official receipt for every service rendered. Since I’m not familiar with the different taxes and when to file them, I hired an accountant who I pay every quarter to do bookkeeping and file my taxes for me. Every quarter, she reminds me to compile my official receipts for the previous quarter so she can compute and pay for my taxes. And then I just pay her via GCash or BPI!
So that’s how to register as a freelancer in the Philippines! The process is quite tedious but I made sure to go about it anyway. If you have any questions, comment below so I can answer as soon as possible.
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