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Your gains from Axie Infinity are subject to income tax, too - BIR

By AYIE LICSI Published Aug 24, 2021 6:22 pm

First, social media influencers. Now, Axie Infinity players.

On August 16, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) released Revenue Memorandum Circular 97-2021 wherein social media influencers are required to pay income tax or business tax. In clarifying terms of the memorandum, BIR Deputy Commissioner Marissa Cabreros said even play-to-earn gamers like players of the popular Axie Infinity are subject to income tax. 

"Sakop rin sila ng RMC 97-2021 kasi ang tinutukoy po doon ay lahat ng activities, lahat ng serbisyo na ang ginagamit mo is online or via digital platforms," Cabreros said in the Laging Handa press briefing on Aug. 24, Tuesday.

"Yung serbisyo ng paglalaro, diyan kayo kumikita ng income. Nabibigyan kayo ng benefits or currency na nagagamit, na-ttrade ninyo, na-coconvert into money, nagagamit pambayad. At the end of the day, may flow of income na pumasok sa ating players. Income po yan na pwedeng maging taxable.”

Cabreros reminded players who earn from Axie to register with the BIR to avoid penalties. She also said that what players will pay—whether that’s income or business tax—will depend on what they earn annually. The TRAIN law exempts individuals earning P250,000 or less from paying income taxes.

Previously, Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said earnings from play-to-earn games are subject should be subject to income tax.

Axie Infinity is a popular blockchain game where players can earn yield in the form of tokens or other rewards, which they treat, trade, and sell like other cryptocurrencies. Players on the platform have their fair share of success stories, including a 22-year-old buying two houses from his gains and an overseas Filipino worker who earned enough to come home to his family.

For the BIR, anyone who earns money through the game is liable to pay an income tax.