Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How can I pay and file my taxes if I'm always abroad?

Who needs an iPad?
Paying taxes online may only be an app away

A professional whose not employed but rendering services to foreign clients abroad and also online. And whose work requires him to be in foreign land most of the time. 

I actually have two questions. Firstly, I registered some time ago online (to be on the safe side) for my TIN as sole proprietor (consultant). I work in many countries and online as a university-trained expert (but not employed). So I believe my registration info is accurate.
However, I was in contact with my RDO now that I am abroad all of the time and they wanted me to come in with various documents to secure my TIN card. I asked them if it is mandatory to have a card since I know my number and they felt I should have one. So my problem is that I cannot come personally (apparently they need to see some ID and see that it is my ID). I was wondering if I can tentatively fax a copy of the ID I do have and then go the nearest embassy and have them check my ID and fax the forms. Is this something BIR has allowed before for those who are abroad and cannot easily show up personally?
Secondly, I am having problems with the registration fee payment from abroad. Can it not be paid by credit card or paypal? Or should I allow a few years to accrue and then pay it by an international money order, since the amount is very small for most money order transactions?
I am also afraid of “open cases” starting up for other reasons while I am not normally resident. What should I watch out for so that I do not end up with a horrible surprise upon returning and how can the expat take care of them from abroad, if needed?
Posted by Orkata at March 2, 2011, 12:26 pm

Hello Orkata,

With regards to what you said " fax a copy of the ID I do have and then go the nearest embassy and have them check my ID and fax the forms". No, I don't believe this is allowed by the BIR.

I don't think the TIN card is the issue in your case but more on the completion of your registration. Which requires your presence. But since your outside the country, you can authorize someone here to represent you and submit the necessary documents and pay the Annual Registration Fee of 500 pesos in your behalf.

No, there is no Paypal or Credit payment facility yet with regards to payment of Annual Registration Fee. 

I don't think you should wait for it to accrue. As I said have someone do this for you here in the Philippines.

With regards to the issue of "open cases".  This is why you are required to visit your RDO so you can be oriented on what taxes you will need to file and pay. And the deadlines of filing these returns. To avoid these open cases. 

There is an online facility of paying and filing your taxes online using the eFPS (electronic Filing and Payment System). The BIR Website has a link to this facility on the left side of said web page.

Enrollment to the eFPS would require you to write a letter of intent to your RDO indicating that you wish to enroll in eFPS facility and request that your TIN should be uploaded to the eFPS database.  Once the RDO has uploaded your TIN. You can enroll online. Here's a screen shot of the login page below:

Below the "LOGIN" button is the "Enroll to eFPS" click that and you will be directed to enrollment page.

There is also info materials regarding the use of this facility click the "job aids" just above the "eFPS login". There are information materials in PDF format which can guide you on this facility.  You can also contact the eFPS Team in the BIR Contact Center 981-8888  to assist you with your other concerns or if there are things which find confusing. Or email them at contact_us@cctr.bir.gov.ph.

To pay your taxes using this facility you may need to enroll also in an eFPS Accredited Agent Bank (AAB) of your RDO. Like Banco De Oro, Bank of the Philippine Islands, China Banking Corporation, Chinatrust, Union Bank, etc.

Once this is setup, you can file and pay even if your outside the country.


  1. Thank you very kindly for responding to this! I appreciate your answers.

    I do believe that for such small amounts (seen from an expat perspective) we really need to have a paypal facility ASAP! The world is getting more global and of course we cannot always have domestic bank accounts (most try to cut down any and all bank accounts that they do not use regularly if they live in many countries, because of the fees and hassles).

    I shall definitely write a letter and enrol in eFPS and declare. And I will talk to the centre to at least have a teleconference on my various taxes and requirements. This could be accomplished for expats by SKYPE or the likes if BIR wants to move into the global / internet age. It also cuts costs for telephone calls.

    As far as documents are concerned, I can only make a best effort attempt to go to the embassy, have them examined and certified and then send them to my RDO, at least for the moment. I hate to say "everyone else accepts this system", but it is true in many cases.

    Thank you again for helpful response. God bless!


  2. Thank you also for informing us on your concerns. The paypal option is great alternative in paying taxes especially when your abroad.

    This could help other taxpayers and the BIR as well.

    Thanks again and good day.


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