Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is now requiring bloggers to declare income components (including products or services received via their websites) as part of their annual Income Tax Return.
Several members of the blogging community have expressed surprise at this new requirement by IRAS. But according to the radio station 938LIVE, the IRAS letter sent to bloggers is “part of its (IRAS) regular engagement with the self-employed. It is not meant to target or clamp down on bloggers, IRAS said.
The move by IRAS seemed “stringent and rather extreme”, said blogger Alvin Lim, who owns alvinology.com and asia361.com. “If this is really true, it will kill the whole blogging scene. Who will go for food tastings now? IRAS also has to be fair to bloggers – most of us are one-man shows with no resources to do these things,” Mr Lim said.
Mr Lim who files taxes under a registered company noted that it would be “double standards” if the same were not applied to media companies. “Do journalists file taxes for media gifts, food tastings, family trips or media junkets?” he asked.
Winston Tay, who owns and blogs at blogfather.sg said the move by IRAS is “very obviously done by someone who has no idea how the web works.” “The stupid URL breadcrumb is insane,” he added.
IRAS explained to bloggers in an FAQ on what kind of incomes are taxable, but it also cautioned bloggers that the scenarios on its website are non-exhaustive.
“Hence, the same tax treatment would apply to any other income received and expenditure incurred for social media marketing activities once IRAS has ascertained that you are carrying on a trade or business,” IRAS said.