Wealth

Study Says One-Third of Online Taxpayers' Income Rose During Pandemic

But a majority saw their incomes decline.
IMAGE NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY
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That the pandemic upended industries is no secret. Many businesses have either shuttered or are still struggling to stem their losses over a year into various levels of quarantine. A new study says, however, that it’s not all bad news for many entrepreneurs. 

Nearly 33 percent of all online taxpayers reported their incomes rising by as much as 144 percent in 2020, according to data collected by Taxumo, a Filipino startup that makes it simple for people to file and pay their taxes via a web-based platform. 

Photo by Taxumo.

However, about 67.1 percent of taxpayers using Taxumo declared that their income decreased by 49 percent last year.

Collectively, incomes fell by 22.8 percent, with total taxes Taxumo remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2021 at P11.313 million versus 2020’s P14.652 million.

The startup found that the number of “poor” taxpayers—or those earning less than P9,520 per month according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies—using the Taxumo platform decreased from 28 percent last year to 23 percent this year, while low-income (earning between P19,040 and P38,080 per month) and mid-middle income (earning between P38,080 and P66,640 per month) taxpayers grew by 9.8 percent and five percent respectively. 

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Photo by Taxumo.

Meanwhile, rich taxpayers (or those who earned at least P190,400 per month), which were 4.5 percent of Taxumo’s population in 2020, totally disappeared in 2021. 

In addition, online women taxpayers declared a whopping 86 percent decrease in their income during the past year, which is a strong indication of just how much the pandemic has affected this vulnerable segment of the population.

On the flip side, the study indicated that non-binary users (or those who identify neither as male nor female) reported a 52 percent increase in their declared income. According to a Taxumo rep, about 76.5 percent of non-binary users are from Generation Alpha, or those born in the early 2010s, while 74.7 percent of women users are millennials, or those born from 1980 to 1994.  

Photo by Taxumo.
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While the study doesn’t paint a complete picture, it does give us an idea of the effects of the pandemic on Philippine businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which make up the bulk of Taxumo users, in general. 

“We at Taxumo have been closely monitoring and adapting to the many changes brought by new legislation as well as the pandemic response by the government,” said EJ Arboleda, founder and CEO of Taxumo. “Much as we’re happy to see some of our users’ incomes rise during these trying times, we’re still holding our breaths and hoping for the best for every Filipino entrepreneur and self-employed professional. We’re cautiously optimistic about the future.”

Photo by Taxumo.

Arboleda is referring to RA 11534, or more popularly known as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, which took effect on April 11. The new law slashed the 30 percent corporate income tax rate to 20 percent for small and medium corporations with net taxable income not exceeding P5 million. This means that non-VAT registered individual taxpayers with gross sales of P3 million and below yearly will see their percentage taxes reduced from three percent to just one percent. The CREATE Act will retroactively take effect from July 2020 until June 2023.

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Taxumo says it has launched CREATE Act-ready tax forms to ensure that taxpayers would be able to comply with the shift in tax rules.

Photo by Taxumo.

The full Taxumo State of Online Taxation Report can be accessed here.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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