Frequently Asked Questions for Bookkeeping in the Philippines

Frequently Asked Questions for Bookkeeping in the Philippines

COVID-19 or not, bookkeeping is a taxing but necessary endeavor for any business. Regardless of scale, businesses need to know the current state of their finances. Company owners and management members should at least have a working knowledge of the most commonly-used accounting jargon. This way, they can make decisions and allocate resources with an eye on maintaining and building the company’s financial health.

The following is a short list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on bookkeeping in the Philippines. It includes answers to general questions like “What is bookkeeping?” to more specific questions like “What is the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?”. We hope that this list can help you answer some of your most common questions when it comes to bookkeeping.

What is bookkeeping?

Q: What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping includes recording, storing, and retrieving financial transactions for an entity such as a business, nonprofit organization, individual, etc. It also requires knowledge of basic financial accounting concepts such as debits and credits, balance sheets, and income statements. It is part of the full business accounting process.

On the other hand, accounting refers to recording, organizing, and understanding your company’s financial records. Accounting can tell you which parts of the business actually makes you money and whether your business is making a profit or not.

Q: What’s the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?

What’s the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?

A bookkeeper is the one who keeps, records, and gathers financial data, while an accountant summarizes, interprets and communicates this data for financial decisions. The two roles are very similar, but still very different.

While an accountant can do bookkeeping tasks (but usually don’t), they are better suited to consulting work, such as preparing your financial reports and helping you understand the financial impact of your previous (and upcoming) decisions.

Q: What are some examples of bookkeeping tasks?

Typical bookkeeping tasks include:

  • Processing employee payroll and related governmental reports
  • Billing for goods sold/services provided to clients
  • Recording receipts from customers
  • Monitoring individual accounts receivable
  • Providing financial reports
  • Paying suppliers
  • Verifying and recording invoices received from suppliers
  • Recording depreciation and other adjusting entries

Q: What makes a good bookkeeper?

A good bookkeeper will help improve business cash flow, maximize tax exemptions, and free you up to focus on growing your business.

Q: Can I do the bookkeeping myself?

Yes, but you need to ask yourself if this is really the best use of your time. For many business owners, time is their most valuable asset. Consider if you have other business tasks that need attending to. A good rule of thumb is that if you can outsource or delegate it to someone else, then do so.

We can only do so much in a day, so your limited time is better spent on pursuing high-leverage tasks and ideas. In the long run, you may also find that it costs more money to do the bookkeeping yourself—especially if you don’t have the necessary experience or interest

Should I outsource my bookkeeping?

Q: Should I outsource my bookkeeping?

Yes, but it also depends on how much you’d like to micromanage.

If you like having a tight rein over your company’s finances, being your own bookkeeper might work for you. However, our general recommendation is to outsource as it saves your time, money, and energy. Hiring a professional bookkeeper or accountant is always the better choice, as it can save you from making mistakes that could eventually cost you a lot.

Q: Will I save time and money if I outsource accounting or bookkeeping?

Yes to both! Your time is better off spent on tasks that will grow your business the most, like strategizing and planning for business growth. Some benefits of outsourcing business bookkeeping and accounting include:

Will I save time and money if I outsource accounting or bookkeeping?
  • Reduced operational costs (e.g. payroll, office space, equipment)
  • Lesser risk of paying penalties and fines for non-compliance
  • Improved Cash Flow
  • More time spent on core business competencies
  • Better insights with which to boost your internal systems and processes
  • Allows you to easily scale up as needed

Q: Where can I find a bookkeeping firm in Makati?

DAYANAN Business Consultancy offers bookkeeping services and is located in the heart of the Philippines’ business district. You may contact us at telephone number +632 7576-8476 or visit us at LG1, Cityland III, V.A. Rufino corner Esteban Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City.

Q: What are some examples of bookkeeping and/or accounting software?

While a spreadsheet program like MS Excel or Google Sheets may be useful for businesses with a tight budget, it’s still limited compared to specialized bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks.

The most popular bookkeeping software is Quickbooks, but Xero and Freshbooks are some well-known names as well. Explore your choices before making your purchase.

Q: What bookkeeping records must be maintained by businesses in the Philippines and what are they for?

What bookkeeping records must be maintained by businesses in the Philippines and what are they for?

According to the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), there are six books that every business should keep and maintain regularly:

  • Journal
  • General Ledger
  • Cash Receipts Book
  • Cash Disbursements Book
  • Subsidiaries Sales Journal
  • Subsidiaries Purchases Journal

1. Journal – Accounting entries are recorded here in chronological order before the transactions are posted to the General Ledger.

2. General Ledger – It holds account information needed to prepare the company’s financial statements. Data in the general ledger is segregated by type into accounts for revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity.

3. Cash receipts book – It is a detailed record of all cash inflows to a business, such as cash sales and collections of accounts receivable.

4. Cash disbursements book – This is a record of all financial expenditures made by a company before they are posted to the general ledger. It includes disbursements for cash purchases and payments of payables.

5. Subsidiary Sales Journal – It is a record of the details of all sales transactions. The information stored in this journal is a summary of customer-issued invoices. This journal only stores receivables; this means that sales made in cash are not recorded in the sales journal.

6. Subsidiary Purchases Journal – This contains all cash and credit purchases of goods and services. A Subsidiary Purchases Journal contains information about purchasing transactions. All types of purchases made on credit are recorded here.

The BIR also mandates businesses to keep other accounting records such as registers, invoices, receipts, vouchers, returns, and other source documents that support entries in the books of accounts.

Q: For how long does a company have to store its accounting books and records?

For how long does a company have to store its accounting books and records?

10 years per RR 17-2013 and RR 05-2014 issued by BIR. This is because Section 203 of the National Revenue Code provides that in pending cases relating to tax evasion or failure to file returns, the BIR has the authority to examine tax documents for up to 10 years after the discovery of fraud or omission.

Q: What are the common mistakes or misconceptions about bookkeeping that people should be aware of?

There are two common misconceptions when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting. The first is regarding the start of operations and the second is about when to file tax returns.

  • Businesses should only start operating AFTER it obtains necessary permits and licenses from the relevant government offices, either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations and partnerships or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for sole proprietors. Aside from these, permits and licenses from local government units and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) must also be obtained.
  • Once the BIR has issued the Certificate of Registration, tax returns MUST be filed, EVEN IF there are no transactions to report. Not doing so will incur you some penalties.

Q: What are the BIR tax reports/requirements that we need to maintain? How often do we submit them to BIR?

The taxpayer needs to regularly file tax returns. What these returns are will depend on the tax types indicated in the BIR Certificate of Registration (COR). Generally speaking though, tax returns need to be filed monthly, quarterly, and yearly, as follows:

  • Withholding Taxes – filed monthly and annually
  • Value Added Tax – filed monthly and quarterly
  • Income Tax – filed quarterly and annually

Aside from tax returns, licenses and permits should be renewed annually, while annual reports should be filed and paid.

Q: Do I need to comply with BIR reports if I already have a registered entity in the Philippines but it’s not yet operational?

Once the BIR issues the Certificate of Registration, you must file, even if no transactions have taken place. Otherwise, you will be charged penalties for non-compliance.

Q: Are there any additional tax requirements for foreign businesses registered in the Philippines?

There are NO additional tax compliance requirements for foreign businesses, but there may be additional tax filings that are unique to foreign entities. An example is the branch profit remittance tax on profits remitted by a Philippine Branch to its Head Office.

Q: What happens if we don’t comply with the mandated accounting/bookkeeping requirements?

The SEC and BIR can impose penalties for failure to submit financial statements and tax returns on time. While the exact fines and penalties vary on a case to case basis, complying with basic accounting/bookkeeping requirements is always a good idea.

Thanks for reading this article on frequently asked questions for bookkeeping in the Philippines. If you want to grow your business, outsourcing is generally the way to go. If you need bookkeeping services in Makati or are searching for a bookkeeping firm in Makati, we at DAYANAN can help you! You may contact us here for any inquiries and our team of experts will gladly assist you.

Amnesty Declared for Unsettled Estate Taxes and Tax Delinquencies

Philippines Tax Amnesty 2019

Philippines 2019 Tax Amnesty 

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act (RA) Number 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act of 2019, which provides amnesty for those with undeclared estate taxes and tax delinquencies, last February 14.

Under the law, the government will now collect only six percent of the net undeclared estate tax for properties owned by those who died before January 1, 2018.

President Duterte Veto

Duterte vetoed provisions allowing a one-time settlement of estates for those properties under multiple unsettled estates and presuming the truthfulness of self-declared property values. It would thus seem that the six percent rate will apply at every transfer of property based on fair market values, and that the government will have to verify all estate tax amnesty returns.

The President rejected more items in the original bill which would have granted a general tax amnesty for those who failed to pay correct taxes in 2017 and previous years. Citing potential abuse by tax evaders, Duterte called on Congress to pass another bill that would lift bank secrecy in cases of fraud, include mechanisms for the automatic exchange of information, and ensure truthful declaration of assets and liabilities.

In conjunction with the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, R.A. 11213 was envisioned by the Duterte administration to help raise revenues and expand the tax base in support of its priority development programs.

Amnesty Coverage

The law also grants amnesty on tax delinquencies, covering all national internal revenue taxes such as income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax, donor’s tax, value-added tax, excise tax, and documentary stamp tax. The amnesty tax rate is 40 percent of the delinquent tax. Those whose cases have been subject to final judgment by the courts will have to pay 50 percent. Pending criminal and tax evasion cases merit 60 percent of the tax assessed, while those who did not remit withheld taxes have to pay 100 percent.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted that the amnesty on estate taxes would help those who avail to “free up property that long been estate-locked and allow heirs to make good economic use of the properties they have inherited.”

“We hope that in availing [themselves] of this amnesty—a very, very generous reprieve from the state, taxpayers would feel more encouraged to pay the right taxes, and be more empowered to be good taxpayers in the future,” Dominguez said.

Employee Stock Option Taxation in the Philippines

Stock Option Definition

Employee Stock Options TaxationA stock option is a contract which gives the holder the right but not the obligation to buy shares in a corporation at a predetermined price on or before a specified date. Stock options may be purchased or granted “Equity-settlement Option” (usually to employees).

Another kind of stock option is a contract which gives the holder the right to obtain the difference between the actual fair market value of shares and the fixed nominal value of the shares set in the grant option on a specific date, although no shares of stock are transferred “Cash-settlement Option”.

Stock Option Grants

Stock options granted to employees (grantee) of Philippines corporations by their employers (grantor) without any payment are not subject to compensation taxes or Capital Gains Tax (CGT). “However, if the option was granted for a price, the full price of the option shall be considered capital gains, and taxed as such.” The grantor has the obligation to pay the CGT.

Upon the issuance of the Option, the same is subject to a documentary stamp tax amounting to Seventy-five centavos (P0.75) on each Two Hundred pesos (P200), or fractional part thereof, of the par value of the stock subject of the option, or in the case of stock without par value the amount equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of the documentary stamp tax paid upon the original issue of the stock subject of the option, as provided for in Section 175 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

Sale or Transfer of Option

The sale, barter, or exchange of stock options is treated as a sale, barter, or exchange of shares of stock not listed on the stock exchange. Thus, any grant of an option for consideration, or transfer of the option is subject to capital gains tax imposed under Section 24 (C) of the NIRC. If the option was granted without any consideration, the cost base of the option for the purposes of computing capital gains shall be zero.

If the option is transferred by the grantee/subsequent owner without any consideration, the same shall be treated as a donation of shares of stock subject to donor’s tax. The basis shall be the fair market value of the option at the time of the donation.

Taxes on Exercise of Option

(a) Equity – Settlement Option – An option is exercised when the grantee pays the exercise price to the grantor, the grantor is then under the obligation to deliver the stocks to the owner of the option.

Shares Not Traded on the Local Stock Exchange

Rank-and-file Employees: any difference between the book value/fair market price (whichever is higher),at the time of the exercise of the stock option and the price fixed on the grant date is considered taxable income and subject to withholding tax on compensation.

Managerial and Supervisory Employees: any difference between the book value/fair market value of the shares (whichever is higher), at the time of the exercise of the stock option and the price fixed on the grant date, shall be treated as fringe benefit subject to fringe benefit tax imposed under Section 33 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended (NIRC).

Shares Traded on the Local Stock Exchange

If the shares involved are shares of stock listed and traded through the Local Stock Exchange, the transaction is subject to stock transaction tax imposed under Section 127(A) of the NIRC, as amended; a tax at the rate of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) of the gross selling which shall be paid by the seller.

(b) Cash Settlement Option – The above rules on Equity-settlement also apply in cases of Cash-settlement Options. Cash-settled Options do not require the actual delivery of shares. Instead, the market value, at the exercise date, of the stock is compared to the exercise price, and the difference (if in a favorable direction) is paid by the grantor to the holder of the option.

The Waiting Game in Employee Stock Option Taxation

When stock options are exercisable over a number of years, its advantageous for employees who are rank and file to not exercise their options until they are promoted to supervisory or managerial positions to avail of a better tax treatment, though more costly to the employer.

Stocks of a Foreign Corporation

If the shares involved are shares of stock in a foreign corporation, the gain, if any, is subject to ordinary income tax.


  1. Grant Option

Within 30 days from the grant of the option, the issuing corporation shall submit to the Revenue District Office where it is registered a statement under oath indicating the following:

  1. Terms and Conditions of the stock option
    ii. Names, TINs, positions of the grantees
    iii. Book value, fair market value, par value of the shares subject of the option at the grant date
    iv. Exercise price, exercise date and/or period
    v. Taxes paid on the grant, if any
    vi. Amount paid for the grant, if any.
  1. Exercise of Option

During the exercise period, the issuing corporation shall file a report on or before the 10th day of the month following the month of exercise stating therein the following:

  1. Exercise Date
    ii. Names, TINs, positions of those who exercised the option
    iii. Book value, fair market value, par value of the shares subject of the option at the exercise date/s
    iv. Mode of settlement (i. e. cash, equity)
    v. Taxes withheld in the exercise, if any.
    vi. Fringe benefits tax paid, if any.

Sources BIR Revenue Memorandum Circulars: 79-2014 & 88-2012

A Brief Overview of BIR Filing Rules for Philippine Corporations Businesses

Philippines Tax Filings BIRBureau of Internal Revenue Tax Filings

Upon registering your corporation, branch office or business with the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), you will be required to attend a seminar that will orient you on your company’s basic tax obligations in the Philippines.

While most corporation owners would send their accountants to this seminar rather than attend it themselves, it is wise and prudent for you to be aware of the information given there as well. So here, in a nutshell, are the basic rules of Philippine tax filing that you, as a business owner, should know.

What to pay

1. Sales tax. There are two kinds of businesses in the Philippines: value added tax (VAT) payers and percentage tax payers, or non-VAT.

VAT payers are required to pay monthly and quarterly sales taxes equivalent to 12% of their gross sales, while non-VAT payers pay 3% monthly.

When to pay: on or before the 20th day of the following month (monthly) and the 25th day after the close of the quarter (when applicable)

Forms to use: 2551-M (monthly) for non-VAT; 2550-M (monthly) and 2550-Q (quarterly) for VAT

Who are Required to File VAT Returns

  • Any person or entity who, in the course of his trade or business, sells, barters, exchanges, leases goods or properties and renders services subject to VAT, if the aggregate amount of actual gross sales or receipts exceed One Million Nine Hundred Nineteen Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P1,919,500.00).
  • A person required to register as VAT taxpayer but failed to register
  • Any person, whether or not made in the course of his trade or business, who imports goods

2. Income taxes withheld at source. Businesses are required to withhold taxes from their building lessors (5% of total monthly rent), hired freelancers (10–15% for professionals and 2% for subcontractors), and regular employees (rates depend on salary), and remit these taxes to the BIR every month. The BIR Form 2307 should be issued to these withholdees to serve as their proof of creditable income tax withheld at source.

When to remit: on or before the 10th day of the following month

Forms to use: 1601-C (compensation) for employees; 1601-E (expanded) for lessors and freelancers

3. Income tax. As a general rule, income tax rates for corporations in the Philippines are at 30% of net taxable income, while the optional standard deduction rate, which can be used in lieu of itemized deductions, is 40% of the company’s gross income.

However, several conditions, such as BOI or PEZA registrations, special tax treatises, etc., may significantly lower the amount of taxes due from a corporation. Our company can guide you on what steps to take to legally minimize your company’s tax duties in the Philippines.

When to pay: on or before May 30 (q1), August 29 (q2), November 29 (q3), and April 15 (annual)

Forms to use: 1702-Q (quarterly) and 1702-RT (annual)

4. Registration fee. This is a ₱500 fee that needs to be paid every year as a renewal of one’s BIR registration.

When to pay: on or before January 31

Form to use: 0605 (payment form)

If the deadlines for filing fall on a holiday or weekend, then your company may still file and pay without incurring penalties on the next working day.

Additional notes

The deadlines listed above are for manual payers only. Users of the eFiling and Payment System (eFPS) usually have their due dates set one to five days after the manual payers, depending on the industry that their business is engaged in. The companies that are required to use the eFPS include corporations with paid-up capital stocks of at least ₱10 million pesos, taxpayers with computerized accounting systems, PEZA members, and BOI-certified companies.

Payments should be made at authorized agent banks within the revenue district under which your business is registered. Payments made in banks outside your own revenue district will be subject to 25% penalty.

If you would like to learn more about the tax environment and exemptions for local- or foreign-owned corporations in the Philippines, we at Dayanan Consulting can help you. Call us today and let’s talk. We’d be happy to be of service.


Tax Withheld for Employees BIR Form 2316

BIR Form 2316

Doing business in the Philippines and hiring Filipino talent requires compliance with the revenue regulations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This applies to all companies, whether local or foreign owned BPOs, or engaged in any other kind of business and have already registered with the BIR.

Revenue Regulations No. 11-2013

Other than submitting documents to the government, companies in the Philippines are required to provide its employees a hard copy of BIR Form 2316 or the Certificate of Compensation Payment/Tax Withheld. Employers should:

1) Provide its employees with BIR Form 2316 on or before January 31 and
2) Provide the terminated employee with the form on the day of giving the last payment of compensation.

Minimum wage earners (MWEs) are not exempted from this rule. Employers of MWEs should issue BIR Form 2316 (June 2008 Encs version) to their employees on or before January 31 as well.

Several rules should be followed when employers issue the Certificate of Compensation Payment or Tax Withheld form to its employees. Employers should provide the original and duplicate copies of BIR Form No. 2316 with the following information:

1) Name and address of the employer;
2) Employee’s Tax Identification Number (TIN);
3) The amount of exemptions claimed, amount of premium payments on health and/or hospitalization insurance not exceeding P2,400;
4) The sum of compensation paid including nontaxable benefits;
5) The amount of statutory minimum wage receieved by MWEs;
6) Overtime, holiday, night shift differential, and hazard pay received by MWEs;
7) The amount of tax due;
8) The amount of tax withheld during the calendar year; and
9) Other information in the form that needs to be filled out.

For cases covered by substituted filing, employers should provide the employees with the original copy of BIR Form No. 2316 and file the duplicate copy with the BIR not later than February 28 following the close of the calendar year.


If an employer or a withholding agent fails to comply with this revenue regulation within the required time, there will be a corresponding fee of P1,000 for each penalty committed. The aggregate amount for all penalties should not exceed P25,000. The fee will be waived unless the failure is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

Furthermore the employer or withholding agent will be punished with a fine of P10,000 and at least one year imprisonment if it fails to pay any tax, make any return, keep any record, or supply correct and accurate information, withhold taxes, or refund excess taxes for two consecutive years.