Online Filipino Freelancers BIR Registration Guide

Online Filipino Freelancers BIR Registration Guide

Congratulations! If you are here, it means that you are "somehow" interested about paying taxes or curious about the procedure you have to take in order to register at the BIR. But, first things first.

"How does BIR categorize online workers or online freelancers?"

As of this writing, BIR doesn't have proper classification for the online freelancers. I talked to several people at the BIR and they passed me from one person to another. When they ask me about the nature of my work, I said I work online. They told me to get DTI, Mayor's permit, etc. as if they see us as having a local business or selling goods online. But then I insist that I don't need those and I will register as self-employed professional (without license). Good thing that I already did extensive research prior to going there and I have a lot of information ready. 

Online Filipino Freelancers BIR Registration Guide

Step 1a. Get Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

BIR Form 1901 - Application for Registration (self-employed)
[2 copies]

This is applicable for those who don't have a TIN yet. If you are previously employed, for sure you already have your TIN so you don't need to do this step. You can register online or go to the nearest BIR office in your area to register manually. If you chose to register online, you still have to go to the BIR office afterwards to get your TIN ID.

For those who have existing TIN, you still need to fill-up this form to change your status from employed to self-employed. Or if you're still working at the corporate world and freelancing at the same time, you can declare that you're a "mixed-income" earner.

BIR form 1901

Step 1b. Update your personal information (for those with existing TIN)

BIR Form 1905 - Application for Registration Information Update
[2 copies]

If you are no longer employed and now working online as a freelancer, you have to update your personal information at the BIR such as changing your registered address and transfer your RDO (Regional District Office). You have to wait 5 working days before going to your new RDO and apply as a self-employed professional. In my case, waited 7 working days before going to my new RDO just to be sure. 

BIR Form 1905

You can also use this form if you lost your TIN card and other things you want to update. Just mark the appropriate boxes on Part II.


Step 2. Pay the annual registration fee for COR (Certificate of Registration)

BIR Form 0605 - Payment Form [3 copies]

The annual registration fee for COR is PhP 500. You need to pay for this every January. You can go to any AAB (Authorized Agent Banks) of your RDO to pay for this. Keep your copy of the payment form and the receipt from the bank and photocopy both, 3 copies each. You'll need it later.

BIR form 0605

Step 3. Get OTR (Occupational Tax Receipt) 

Since online freelancers don't need DTI registration and mayor's permit, BIR will require you to get PTR (Professional Tax Receipt) or OTR (Occupational Tax Receipt) from your municipal or city hall. Since we don't have professional license, it is better to get an OTR instead. Also, it's much cheaper than PTR. I've got mine for PhP 200. Photocopy the OTR because you need to submit it to the BIR and the original is yours.


Step 4. Buy books of accounts

For online freelancers, we only need two books of accounts - Journal and Ledger. They are always available outside the BIR but they are more expensive than usual. So before going there, drop by at any bookstore to buy those books. I've got mine at National Bookstore for only PhP 22 each. You need to get it stamped and signed at the BIR.


Step 5. Submit the requirements

If you're done with steps 1 to 4, you are now ready to go and submit all of them at the BIR. You should have the following: Form 1901, 1905, 0605 with receipt from bank (original and photocopy), Occupational Tax Receipt (original and photocopy), photocopy of NSO birth certificate, photocopy of marriage certificate (if married), and your books of accounts.


Step 6. Attend the required seminar

After you submit all the forms and requirements, you need to attend the required seminar about filing taxes. The seminar is usually 1-2 hours long. This is also your chance to ask any questions and clarifications to the BIR officer in-charge of the lecture. On my RDO, it is scheduled every Thursday at 1:30pm. Just ask your RDO about the schedule of the seminar for the self-employed.


Step 7. Get your Certificate of Registration

Yehey! This is it! After the seminar, ask the BIR personnel when you can get your Certificate of Registration. Fortunately, I was able to get mine right after the seminar so I no longer have to go back at the BIR. You will be asked to buy a doc stamp for PhP 15 available inside BIR, and they will attach it to your COR. They also gave me a board with "Ask for Receipt" notice. I read stories from other freelancers that they were able to get their COR after several days. 

Certificate of Registration

Step 8. Print your receipts

BIR Form 1906 - Application for Authority to Print Receipts
and Invoices [2 copies]

After you get your COR, you are now ready to print your official receipt to BIR accredited printers. You need to submit the following to the printing press where you will have your receipts printed: form 1906, photocopy of your form 0605 with the receipt from the bank, and photocopy of your Certificate of Registration. The receipts are valid for 5 years. Price varies but it's usually around PhP 700 - PhP 1000 for 10 booklets. Ten booklets are enough but I've got 20 booklets because it is the required minimum purchase from the nearest printing press I've found.

BIR fom 1906

There you have it! I hope that this guide can help you. Although the procedure seems exhausting, just be patient and you will finish it in no time. I will have a separate post about the taxes that Filipino freelancers need to pay, proper computation, and more! I'm so excited to share more information with you, so stay tuned! Happy taxpaying! 

About the Author Kaila Sharlene

I am a freelance web designer, web developer and SEO specialist – one of the “Top Rated” web designers on Upwork. Living a digital nomad lifestyle, our family loves to explore the outdoors together while doing some freelance jobs in between. Know more about our family adventures at wyattmaktrav.com – named after my son Wyatt Maktrav.

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  • Dante says:

    Question lang po. Do I really need receipts even if i am only a data entry worker on UPWORK?

    • Hi Dante! Yes, you still need receipts because it’s required by BIR. What I do is I convert the dollar amount to the actual conversion rate by the time I withdraw money from Upwork. Then I make a receipt for each transaction and client. I print my transaction on Upwork on a weekly basis and attach the receipts there. Although we don’t really give our ‘local’ receipt to our foreign clients, we still need that just for the sake of having one for tax purposes.

  • Alice says:

    Hi! Gusto ko po sana maging freelance artist. Itanong ko lang kung required pa rin ba ako na kumuha ng Mayor’s permit, DTI, etc. kung magtatrabaho ako bilang freelance illustrator at mag-iimprenta din sa garments? O BIR lang ang kailangan kong puntahan?

    • Depende po yan sayo. If you’ll just work online, no need to get Mayor’s permit and DTI. But if you want to have it as business like yung may printing services, etc. then you need business permit and DTI.

  • joseph says:

    i already have a COR and paid the latest 1905. my question is about form 1906. can you confirm if my interpretation is correct – that I have to accomplish first the 1906, and then present it together with 1905 and COR, to the printer? tama po ba? also, are you familiar with sales invoice and service invoice po?

    • Hi Joseph,

      Yes, you’re correct. You need the Form 1906 to be filled up and submit it to printing press together with the photocopy of your 1905 and COR. Regarding sales invoice, I do know about it but I’m only using OR (Official Receipt) since sales invoice is not really required for us. Sales Invoice is more on itemizing.

      • joseph says:

        thanks for the insight. clarify ko lang, dun sa 1906. direkta ba na ibibigay sa printer, or kelangan stamped muna yun ng rdo? meron kasing nakalagay sa lower right corner na “stamp of bir receiving officer.” medyo naguguluhan kasi ako sa last process na to.

  • gee says:

    Hi, ask ko lang po, when paying sa accredited bank pwede na po ba agad magbayad ng 500 or maghintay muna advise ng BIR kung kailan magbabayad ng fee and pwede din po ba mag apply kahit sa june? Thanks

    • Yes po, pwede magregister any time of the year. Okay lang kahit sa June. When paying for the 500 registration fee, you can pay sa accredited bank before you go to the BIR sa June para hindi ka na pabalik-balik. Just print and fill-up 3 copies of the payment form.

  • Rita says:

    Hi! I have a follow-up question. My RDO (Mandaluyong) has a list of requirements, which includes “Final and clear sample of Principal Receipts/Invoices.” Does it mean I need to have the receipts printed out BEFORE I can get the COR? Thanks!

    • Hi Rita,

      On my RDO, they also gave me a list of requirements and that’s also included on the list. But you don’t necessarily have the receipts printed right away because you need the COR as one of the requirements for printing of receipts. I just created a sample layout for the OR. But when I submitted the requirements, they didn’t really look for it. 🙂

  • ajelyn oloya says:

    Hi mam,
    goodevening..can i fill up here thru online,?because i need TIN number..i am employed but rigth now im ongoing maternity leave..

    I need TIN number for online reseller or business..please response asap..
    Thanks..

  • Rita says:

    Thanks for the info! I’ve submitted the form to my old RDO in Makati. It took just 15 minutes to change to my new RDO and update my status/married name.

  • Rita says:

    This is by far the BEST explanation of the BIR registration process I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for writing about your experience. It’s always inspiring to read about how other WAHMs make it work. If I may ask, where’s your RDO? Did you need to go to your original RDO when you changed branches? Thanks!

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