Mikael on taxing influencers, vloggers
I need to brush up on what I need to be aware of so I can be ready to fulfill my obligations in the future,” Mikael Daez said on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) recent calls for social media influencers and online content creators to pay their taxes.
In a memorandum issued last month, the BIR said that people generating income from such platforms as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc. are classified, for tax purposes, as “self-employed persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors,” and must, therefore, pay income and business taxes.
Mikael, one of the many mainstream celebrities who has expanded his presence on the digital space, joked that, as the saying goes, “death and taxes are inevitable in our lives.”
“Our tax system is evolving because, suddenly, there are new means of businesses coming out. If I told you five years ago that I was a professional YouTuber, you would probably say, ‘What’s that?’ But now, there are even courses on how to be a professional YouTuber,” he said in a recent virtual conference, shortly after renewing his contract with GMA 7. “If that’s what the government requires and there are taxes to be paid, because [content creation] has become a business, then it’s up to us to be responsible with our obligations as Filipinos,” Mikael added.
Own space in the online world
The Kapuso star believes that during this “transition period, education is a must among all players involved. The government and digital creators alike need to be more aware [of our duties],” he said. “Just like when I got into show biz, I didn’t know I had to register with this or do that. There are a lot of changes, and that’s part of life.”
But all things considered, Mikael said it’s good to see more and more people—celebrities included—finding their own space in the online world.
“I never saw it as a competition. Around 2014 or 2015, I was already talking to some of my colleagues about vlogging, and urging them to give it a try. The digital space is huge, and there’s enough room for everyone. No one has a monopoly of that space, so let’s all just enjoy and create our own content,” he said. The 33-year-old actor is also glad that GMA 7 sees the potential in the digital space. “They’re ready to capitalize on that … There will be projects that wouldn’t be possible with television as the only platform,” he said, adding that content creation has also come in handy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re happy because we’re ready in terms of equipment and skills. We mostly work from home, so we must do everything—editing, camerawork. We have been hosting a lot of virtual events. And with our basic equipment, we make the most of our opportunities,” he said. “We’re lucky that these skills turned out to be useful today.”
Working for television and online platforms are mostly similar, Mikael observed, save for some minor nuances.
“If I’m coming in as myself, then I’m my authentic self. But of course, in teleseryes, you will see a Mikael different from the one you see on my vlogs or podcasts. Being committed to both worlds, you have to know the nuances. The digital space allows more room for spontaneity. Teleseryes are different, especially now that you have to do locked-in tapings,” he said.
Speaking of taping bubbles, Mikael, who was last seen in the recent drama series “Love of My Life,” disclosed that GMA 7 has presented him with upcoming projects, one of which is with Megan.
“Hosting with my wife is something I would love to try, since we have already done a teleserye (“The Stepdaughters”),” he said. “Maybe a comedy genre project will be interesting. There’s still a lot to explore.”
Mikael has been with GMA 7 for the past 11 years, and getting his contract renewed for a couple more years is an achievement, he said. “I knew nothing about show biz when I got here, and didn’t know what it takes to be successful. In retrospect, this is a personal achievement for me,” he said.
“I was the kind of actor who stumbled many times along the way, whether at acting or hosting … I didn’t always do well, which was painful and sad. But those instances are also opportunities to improve. So it’s either you stay sad or do better next time,” Mikael said.