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The Complete Guide to DTI, BIR Business Permit Registration in 2024

Summary: If you want to register any business in the Philippines, you must start with registering a unique business name with the DTI. Then, get a Barangay Clearance which will allow you to get a Business Permit (Mayor’s License). Keep in mind that the Mayor’s Permit may also be dependent on other clearances such as fire inspection, sanitation, zoning, and insurance. The DTI Registration and Business Permit are required to apply for your BIR registration. Although this process is long and frustrating at times, registering an online business is significantly easier and faster since the are fewer requirements.

This is the most exciting time to start an online business in the Philippines. It can make you rich in months, but first you must put in a lot of work. The first step is to register your online business with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to comply with government regulations.

Luckily, the business registration process in the Philippines is simple, easy, and relatively fast. You can even do it online if you have all the requirements ready.

Please note that the BIR Business Permit (BIR Form 2303) is different from the Local Business Permit. While the BIR registration certificate is required for tax compliance, the business permit (or Mayor’s Permit) is a local license that allows you to operate in a Barangay, city, municipality, or region.

Important: Although you don’t need a Mayor’s Permit to register with the BIR, you must have one to be cleared to run your business by the Local Government Unit (LGU). You must also register your business name with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), even if you’re running a small home-based online business. Corporations and Partnerships must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before applying for a Business Permit and BIR registration.

1. Step-by-Step Guide to DTI Business Registration in the Philippines

Are you ready to get started with registering your online business in the Philippines? The first step is to register your business name with the DTI. If you don’t have one, see our business name guide for some fun ideas.

Registration can be done online or at the nearest DTI Regional or Provincial office. The DTI provides a detailed registration guide you can follow. 

Before you do that, make sure you have a unique business name that’s different from your personal “True name”. That name will be your business identifier under the Trade & Industry Laws Act  No. 3883. 

Ideally, your chosen business name:

  • Should be easy to remember and pronounce for branding purposes
  • Describe your business e.g., Busa Laundry Ltd
  • Should not be too generic e.g., The Laundry
  • Shouldn’t be suggestive of the quality of products or services offered, e.g., The Best Laundry
  • Should not be restricted to government or law enforcement agencies, and shouldn’t have abbreviations resembling internationally recognized agencies (e.g., CIA, FBI, WHO)
  • Shouldn’t be too similar to already established or international brands, e.g., KFD, Sunbucks, or 7-Twelve (those actually exist)
  • Shouldn’t include illegal or offensive words
  • Shouldn’t include symbols or punctuation marks that are not in the English or Filipino languages
  • Shouldn’t be misleading or misrepresent the nature of the business
  • Shouldn’t be damaging to the State.

These are very similar to domain name registration requirements.

Once you have a valid business name, you also need the following business name registration requirements, including:

  • DTI application form like this one for sole proprietorships
  • Two valid government IDs
  • Barangay Clearance
  • Proof of address
  • For foreign nationals, an Alien Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Registration for Sole Proprietorship or a Certificate of Authority to Engage in Business in the Philippines, also issued by the relevant DTI office
  • For refugees or stateless people, a Certificate of Recognition issued by the DOJ-RSPPU or Certificate of Recognition

Your chosen business name remains valid for 5 years, after which you must renew it to retain the legal and exclusive right to use it.

Important: Make sure the information you submit is correct and accurate. You can only make minor changes during the validity period, such as updating the business address, capitalization, line of business, products or services offered, or name of the registrant (such as after marriage or legal name change).

In-Person DTI Business Name Registration Guide

For in-person application, you can visit any local DTI office or Negosyo center. Here’s what to do:

  1. Download the application form and fill it out. Make sure you have at least 3 backup business names in case the one you want is already taken. You can also confirm the availability of a business name using the DTI search tool.
  2. Visit the nearest registration center and pay the registration fee. The price of registering a business name with the DTI varies depending on the region: ₱200 for Barangays, ₱500 for cities and municipalities, ₱1,000 for regions, and ₱2,000 for national recognition.
  3. After approval, you will receive a Certificate of Business Name Registration, usually within 3–5 days.

Armed with your certificate and business permit, you can now go ahead to apply for the BIR business registration. If you don’t know how to apply for the Mayor’s Permit, here’s the application guide for Manila. The process may vary in other Municipalities or Provinces.

Step-by-Step Guide to Registering an Online Business With the BIR

Before starting a BIR business registration, make sure you have all the required documents. The table below shows the BIR registration requirements for different types of businesses:

Sole ProprietorshipPartnershipCorporation
BIR registration form 1901BIR Registration Form 1903BIR Registration Form 1903
Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passportCopy of the SEC Certificate of RecordingCopy of the SEC Certificate of Incorporation
DTI certificate of registrationArticles of PartnershipArticles of Incorporation
Sample of your business receipts from a BIR-accredited printerSample of your business receipts from a BIR-accredited printerSample of your business receipts from a BIR-accredited printer
Photocopy of License to Do Business in the Philippines (for foreign corporations)
Table showing BIR registration requirements for various business types

Other requirements may include work permits (for foreign nationals), franchise documents and agreements, Memorandum of Agreement (for joint ventures), Certificate of Authority (for Barangay Micro Business Enterprises), Special Power of Attorney (SPA), Permit to Operate, among others.

Once you have the right documents, go ahead and start registration according to the guide below:

  1. Download and fill out three copies of the appropriate BIR registration form. If you can, fill out the BIR Form 2000 (Documentary Stamp Tax on Lease) in advance as well.
  2. Submit your application and documents to the Revenue District Office (RDO) which has jurisdiction over the area where your business will be operating.
  3. You will be interviewed to determine what type of business you will be running and the applicable tax type. This is necessary for generating a Tax Identification Number (TIN). Remember that selling online is also taxable, just like brick-and-mortar businesses.
  4. Using your issued TIN, BIR Form 2000, and Payment Form (BIR Form 0605), pay the registration fees at an approved bank. You can also use BIR’s e-payment gateways, which include LandBank, UnionBank, DBP, PESONet, GCash, and Paymaya. These fees are ₱500 for registration and ₱30 loose documentary tax (DST).
  5. Submit copies of the payment forms, receipts, and other documents to the BIR either in person or by email. If you submit them online, make sure to scan them and attach them individually in PDF form, and no document should exceed 4 MB in size.
  6. The BIR will notify you once the Certificate of Registration (COR) is ready, typically within a few days. However, you may need to take a class on filing taxes before you can collect the COR.

When you receive your COR, you can purchase your books of account and register them. While at it, secure an Authority to Print (ATP) which allows an accredited printer to produce your receipts and invoices. These two final steps can take up to two weeks to complete.

Why Register Your Online Business in the Philippines?

From getting a Mayor’s Permit to getting your receipts and invoices printed, business registration in the Philippines can be a headache. It can be tempting to just start your business without registration, especially if it’s a small one. 

However, that would be a terrible idea and could attract fines, business closure, or jail. In addition to being a legal requirement, registration for online businesses is vital for:

  • Securing financing
  • Requesting government assistance, such as the DICT Startup Grant Fund
  • Building credibility with suppliers and other business partners
  • Keeping up with taxes and other legal issues
  • Allowing mass advertising

More importantly, having a registered business increases customer confidence and can help boost business growth.

Business Permit Renewal Requirements in the Philippines

The Business Permit and BIR Business Registration must be renewed annually by January 20 and January 31 of every year, respectively. Failure to renew the permits makes it illegal to continue operating and may attract large fines, closure, or even jail time. 

For example, failure to renew your registration by the deadline automatically invites a minimum of ₱5,000 fine and 6 months jail time.

The requirements for renewal are very similar to new registration requirements with a few important changes:

  • The Business Permit from the previous year, including the Official Receipt
  • Barangay Clearance Certificate (renewed, takes one day)
  • Renewed Business Permit/Mayor’s Permit (takes one to three weeks), which requires
    • The previous Permit and Original Receipt
    • The new Barangay Clearance
    • Income statement from the previous year, audited or unaudited
    • Lease contract from the previous year
    • Local insurance from City Hall or a private insurer
    • Community Tax Certificate (Cedula) from City Hall
  • Depending on the type of business, you may also need to renew your:
    • Sanitation Permit
    • Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC)
    • Occupation and Zoning Clearance Certificate (if applicable)
    • Updated lease contract/agreement
    • Comprehensive General Liability Insurance (CGL)
  • In some Municipalities, a Notarized Lease Agreement or Land Title for the business
  • Quarterly VAT returns from the previous calendar year
  • The Audited Financial Statement from the previous year
  • Declaration of Gross Receipts
  • Confirmation of the number of employees employed at the time of Business Permit Renewal, including information on their addresses, TINs, SSS, PHIC, and PAG-IBIG

The renewal process is very similar to the new registration process. Find the detailed BIR business registration renewal guide at the BNRS/DTI website. 

Renewal fees will be paid based on a percentage of your gross sales/revenue in the previous year. They may also include local business taxes and any additional charges or fees imposed by the local Municipality.

Important: If the business has had no operations or financial transactions during the previous calendar year, it may be necessary to submit an Affidavit of No Operations. Similarly, if the business has lower sales this year than last year’s declaration, it may be necessary to submit an Affidavit of Low Income.

Deadlines

The deadline for filing for the BIR Business Permit is on or before January 31 of each year. If you have all the other documents, it only takes a day to renew the registration. However, the other documents required can take up to a month to prepare, submit, and file.

Luckily, filing for renewal 180 days before or 90 days after expiration is allowed and attracts no penalties. Given the work required to complete the various renewals, we highly recommend getting started well in advance to avoid last-minute queues and frustrations.

Don’t Forget to Renew or Upgrade Website Hosting

There’s one more thing that you must renew often, and that’s your business website hosting. In fact, you may need to upgrade to a premium plan as your business grows.

Are you looking for an affordable hosting solution that will scale easily with your business while providing the ultimate security and reliability? Have you been experiencing frustrations with your current hosting service provider? Truehost Philippines offers the fastest cloud hosting services in the country.

Truehost is tailored to entrepreneurs and enterprises looking for a long-term, trusted hosting partner. We are the best when it comes to uptime, speed, and customer service. As you register your business, remember to update your domains, website hosting, and website performance to help you grow for the next year.

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