Last Updated on 09/25/2020 by FilipiKnow
This article has been reviewed and edited by Miguel Dar, a CPA and an experienced tax consultant who specializes in tax audits. He provides tax advice to various start-up enterprises and clarified tax concerns of individual taxpayers. This includes assisting clients in registering their businesses, tax and bookkeeping training for start-up businesses, settling open cases, tax planning for future tax compliance and answering tax-related inquiries.
TIN number or simply TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) is a unique set of numbers assigned to each registered taxpayer in the Philippines.
It’s a fundamental requirement every time you transact with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), hence the need to apply for it as soon as you enter the workforce.
This guide will walk you through all the requirements and procedures you need to complete to get your very own TIN number.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and is not substitute for professional advice.
Go back to the main article: Tax in the Philippines: An Ultimate Guide to Filing and Paying Taxes
Table of Contents
- What is TIN?
- What is a TIN used for?
- What is the TIN format and structure?
- Who should get a TIN?
- Why should you get a TIN?
- How to Get TIN Number in the Philippines: 2 Ways.
- 1. How to Get a TIN Using BIR Tax Forms (Walk-in Registration).
- a. TIN Application Using BIR Form 1901 (For Self-Employed, Mixed-Income Individuals, Non-Resident Alien Engaged in Trade/Business, Estate, and Trust).
- b. TIN Application Using BIR Form 1902 (For Local and Alien Employees Earning Purely Compensation Income).
- c. TIN Application Using BIR Form 1903 (For Corporations, Partnerships, Including GAIs, LGUs, Cooperatives, and Associations).
- d. TIN Application Using BIR Form 1904 (For One-Time Taxpayer and Person Registering Under E.O. 98).
- 2. How to Get a TIN Using the BIR eReg Website (Online Registration).
- 1. How to Get a TIN Using BIR Tax Forms (Walk-in Registration).
- How to Get TIN Number If You’re Unemployed.
- What is EO 98?
- How to apply for a TIN if you’re unemployed: 4 steps.
- 1. Prepare the BIR requirements for TIN registration.
- 2. Download, print, and fill out BIR Form 1904.
- 3. Go to the BIR RDO and submit the requirements.
- 4. Wait for your TIN.
- Tips and Warnings.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
- 1. I’ve lost/forgotten my TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number). How can I recover it?
- 2. I already have a TIN number. How can I get my TIN ID/TIN Card?
- 3. How can I transfer from the old RDO (Revenue District Office) where my TIN is currently registered to a new RDO?
- 4. I recently got married/annulled. How can I update my BIR registration information with my new civil status and name?
- 5. How can I change/correct my registered name/business name in BIR?
- 6. How can I know my current RDO Code?
- 7. How can I know the RDO Code of the place/BIR office where I will transfer my tax records?
- 8. What is BIR Form 2303 and why is it important for businesses?
- 9. I already applied for a TIN but my previous employer didn’t provide it to me. How can I verify if I already have a TIN or not?
- 10. What is the difference between a one-person company and sole proprietorship? Which business classification should I choose?
- 11. What are the different types of taxpayer in the Philippines?
- 12. Does closing my business mean canceling my TIN?
What is TIN?
A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a unique system-generated number that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assigns to every person registered in its database.
Since it’s a permanent number, you’re supposed to have only one TIN in your lifetime. This means if you already have a TIN, you should not get a new one even if you change jobs or shift from being employed to self-employed.
What is a TIN used for?
The TIN gives the BIR a quick way to access, track, and process a taxpayer’s information and transactions with the national tax collection agency.
It works like a bank account number that allows the bank to identify the right account to debit or credit a financial transaction. The same goes for the TIN—it’s what the BIR uses to record correctly a tax return filed by a taxpayer.
What is the TIN format and structure?
The TIN consists of nine to 12 digits, with the first nine digits being the TIN proper and the last three digits being the branch code (for corporate taxpayers). For individual taxpayers, the default value is 000 for the last three digits of their TIN.
The first digit of the TIN identifies the taxpayer type. TINs that start with 1 to 9 belong to individual taxpayers. If a TIN starts with zero (0), it’s owned by a corporation.
The first three digits of a TIN indicate when the TIN was issued. For example, TINs that start with the 000 series (for corporations) and 900 series (for individuals) were issued before the Integrated Tax System (ITS) implementation in 1998. Meanwhile, the BIR issued TINs that begin with the 200 and 400 series under the ITS.
Taxpayers who registered online are issued TINs starting with the 300 series.
Who should get a TIN?
All Filipino and foreign citizens who are required by law to pay taxes in the Philippines must first register with the BIR to secure a TIN. But before you apply for a TIN, you have to know the correct type of taxpayer you should register for.
Taxpayers are generally classified into two groups: individual and non-individual/corporate. Below are the types of taxpayers under each classification.
1. Individual taxpayers.
a. Local employees.
In BIR tax forms, local employees are called “Individuals Earning Purely Compensation Income.” The term refers to Filipinos who work and earn income solely through a salary from an employer based in the Philippines. Fresh graduates who need to get a TIN as a pre-employment requirement also belong to this taxpayer type.
b. Self-employed individuals.
The BIR defines self-employed as “individuals engaged in a trade or business or those in the practice of a profession.” Simply put, these are self-earning people who work for themselves instead of an employer.
Specifically, the following persons fall under the self-employed taxpayer type:
- Single proprietors – Entrepreneurs who generate income from their business that’s registered as a sole proprietorship with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
- Professionals – Individuals who earn income from practicing their profession, including freelancers, lawyers, and those with a Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) license such as doctors, dentists, engineers, and certified public accountants (CPAs)
- Artists, entertainers, and athletes – People who pursue arts or sports and make a living from it, including actors, singers, dancers, theater performers, movie directors, writers, coaches, etc.
c. Mixed-income earners.
As the term implies, mixed-income earners are those who earn income simultaneously from various sources—which could be from a business, profession, and employment.
According to BIR’s definition, these taxpayers are any two or all of the following: local employees, single proprietors, and professionals.
For example, you’re a mixed-income individual if you’re currently working full-time for an employer while having a sideline.
Here’s another example from the BIR: a teacher employed in a school who works as a part-time tutor and runs a retail business. In such an instance, BIR requires mixed-income earners to register as a local employee, professional, and single proprietor all at the same time.
All foreign nationals who intend to work or start a business in the Philippines are required to register with the BIR, get a TIN, and pay and file taxes.
For taxation purposes, alien or foreign taxpayers in the Philippines are classified into two groups:
- Resident aliens – Non-Filipino citizens with permanent residence status in the Philippines
- Nonresident aliens – Non-Filipino citizens who are not Philippine residents but have stayed in the country for a total of over 180 days during any calendar year, including expats and foreign entrepreneurs
e. One-time taxpayers.
You should secure a TIN and register as a one-time taxpayer if you’ve never been issued a TIN before and you have to pay any of these taxes under One-Time Transactions (ONETT):
- Capital gains tax – For those selling real properties or shares of stocks for a profit
- Donor’s tax – For those giving gifts and/or donations worth over Php 250,000
- Estate tax – For legal heirs/beneficiaries of a deceased person
- Final tax on winnings – For winners of lotto, sweepstakes, or any prize exceeding Php 10,000
- Motor vehicle user’s charge – For those registering their car with the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
f. Non-taxpayers/Persons registering under EO 98.
Minors, students, housewives, retirees, and other unemployed people, as well as OFWs, still need to apply for a TIN even if they’re exempted from paying the income tax.
Under Executive Order (EO) 98, all government agencies and local government units (LGUs) are mandated to include the TIN in all forms, licenses, permits, clearances, and other official documents.
Having a TIN enables non-taxpayers in the Philippines to transact with not only government offices (such as the NBI and LTO) but also banks, stock brokerage firms, and other entities that require a TIN.
g. Estates and trusts.
For estate tax payment purposes, the BIR requires and issues a TIN for the estate of a deceased person or a trust under an irrevocable trust agreement. The TIN for an estate or trust is different and separate from the deceased person’s or trustee’s TIN.
In legal terms, an estate consists of assets such as real properties, cash, investments, and insurance that make up a person’s net worth. Upon the owner’s death, these assets are taxed before they can be transferred to the name of the deceased’s legal heirs.
Meanwhile, a trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustor gives a trustee the right to hold his/her assets for a third party, such as a beneficiary.
2. Corporate taxpayers.
The BIR requires the following types of entities to register as a corporate taxpayer and obtain a business TIN:
- Domestic corporations – Philippine-based corporations are taxed on their income from sources within and outside the country.
- Foreign corporations – Resident and non-resident foreign corporations are taxed on their income from sources within the Philippines only, whether they operate their business in the country or not.
- Non-stock, non-profit organizations
- Associations (such as homeowners associations and labor unions) – Whether taxable or non-taxable
- National government agencies
- Government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs)
Why should you get a TIN?
The TIN is not just for BIR transactions like tax filing and payment. As proof of being a taxpayer, your TIN is required when you transact with different government offices, banks, and private offices.
Here are some transactions or instances when you’re required to provide your TIN:
- Opening a savings account, checking account, or any bank account
- Credit card or loan application
- Application for voter’s registration with the Comelec
- Completing pre-employment requirements (for newly hired employees)
- Vehicle registration with the LTO
- Purchase of a vehicle, land, house, or condo in the Philippines
- Obtaining work visas and employment permits (for foreigners who intend to work in the Philippines)
How to Get TIN Number in the Philippines: 2 Ways.
Taxpayers can secure a TIN either through walk-in registration at their assigned revenue district office (RDO) or online registration via the BIR eRegistration website.
Related: How to Know Your RDO Code
Processing the TIN of walk-in applicants takes around 30 minutes to an hour. But it could take much longer, depending on the volume of people transacting during the day.
The online registration process is much shorter at less than 5 minutes. However, the BIR’s online service is currently available only to registered employers who are securing TINs for their employees. Most taxpayer types have to register manually using appropriate BIR tax forms.
1. How to Get a TIN Using BIR Tax Forms (Walk-in Registration).
The BIR Form 1901 is filed by self-employed individuals, whether single proprietors or professionals, to register with BIR as taxpayers and obtain their own TIN.
The same form is also used for BIR registration by mixed-income individuals or employees who are also running a business on the side; those who want to register their estates and trusts; and non-resident aliens engaged in trade/business.
The BIR Form 1902 is the tax form used to register new employees (Filipino or foreigner) who will earn purely from their salary/compensation income in the Philippines.
Most of the employers take care of their employees’ BIR registration. If this is the case, all you need to do is to fill out the form and submit the required documents. Once registered, you’ll be issued your permanent TIN.
If you’re a corporate taxpayer, you can register with BIR and get your TIN using the BIR Form 1903. This tax form caters to corporations and partnerships, non-profit organizations, cooperatives, associations, national government agencies, GOCCs, and LGUs.
d. TIN Application Using BIR Form 1904 (For One-Time Taxpayer and Person Registering Under E.O. 98).
The BIR Form 1904 is designed for those who don’t fall under the regular groups of taxpayers discussed previously. These include one-time taxpayers who were not issued a TIN previously but need one in order to pay donor’s tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, and other types of one-time taxes.
This tax form is also used to register applicants who are not paying income taxes but are under E.O. 98 like unemployed Filipinos, OFWs, etc.. These applicants simply want to get their own TIN to be able to transact with any government office.
2. How to Get a TIN Using the BIR eReg Website (Online Registration).
Currently, only employers or corporate taxpayers who are registered with the BIR can use the BIR’s eRegistration (eREG) system to secure TINs of their new employees (without existing TIN).
In the past, the online registration service was also accessible to other taxpayer types such as self-employed and applicants under EO 98. The BIR might restore that functionality in the future. But for now, BIR registration for these people has to be done manually at their assigned RDO.
Here are the steps employers should take to get their employees’ TINs online:
- Visit the BIR eRegistration website.
- Click on “Create Employer User Account” on the User Menu on the left part of the page.
- Read the User Agreement. Click the Agree button.
- Enter your email address, complete name, employer TIN, and employer branch code (the last three digits of your employer TIN—not the RDO code).
- Type the captcha code and hit Submit.
- Once your user account is created, fill out the online form.
- Print the eREG Confirmation Page.
- Require your new hires to fill out two copies of the BIR Form 1902 and submit to you the requirements for the TIN application. Make sure to fill out the Employer Information section of the form and affix your signature.
- Go to the RDO where your business is registered and submit the eREG Confirmation printout, accomplished copies of BIR Form 1902, and your employees’ complete supporting documents.
- Receive the TIN and receiving copies of BIR Form 1902.
How to Get TIN Number If You’re Unemployed.
Yes, you read that right—you can secure a Tax Identification Number (TIN) even if you’re not employed.
There shouldn’t be a problem in doing so, as long as you have no existing TIN, have a valid purpose, and submit all the requirements.
Students, stay-at-home parents, and anyone who’s unemployed in the Philippines can apply for this number under Executive Order (EO) 98. Before you file your TIN application with the BIR, it’s important to understand EO 98 and its role in your right to be issued a TIN.
What is EO 98?
EO 98 is a directive signed by then President Joseph Estrada that requires all government agencies to use the TIN in all forms, permits, licenses, and other documents they issue to people transacting with their office.
This EO makes it compulsory for everyone—employed or not—to get a TIN for transactions with government offices and private institutions, such as the following:
- Passport/NBI Clearance/Driver’s License application
- Opening a bank account
- Voter’s registration application
- Scholarship application
As such, having a TIN enables you to get a valid ID, open a bank account for saving or investing, get a scholarship, and more.
How to apply for a TIN if you’re unemployed: 4 steps.
1. Prepare the BIR requirements for TIN registration.
Be one step ahead of your TIN application by making sure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents.
TIN application requirements for the unemployed.
- Two copies of accomplished BIR Form 1904
- Birth Certificate, Community Tax Certificate (cedula), passport, driver’s license, or any valid government-issued ID showing the applicant’s full name, address, and birthdate
- For married applicants: Marriage certificate
Additional supporting documents.
The BIR may require additional documents depending on your TIN registration purpose. For example, if you need a TIN for opening a bank account, you’ll be asked to submit a bank certificate (indicating “for the purpose of TIN application only”).
This is where it gets tricky because not all banks issue a certification for TIN registration. So if you’re enrolling a new account with a certain bank, ask right away if they can give you a bank certificate for TIN application. Otherwise, try looking for other banks that do.
2. Download, print, and fill out BIR Form 1904.
How to fill out BIR Form 1904 for unemployed applicants.
Here are pointers to guide you through accomplishing the TIN application form properly.
- Use a pen with black ink and write down your information in CAPITAL LETTERS.
- Date of Registration: Enter the date when you’ll file your TIN application with the BIR.
- RDO Code: Indicate the three-digit Revenue District Office (RDO) code of the city or town where you live. Check your RDO code here.
- Taxpayer Type: Mark with an “X” the box that says “E.O. 98 (Filipino Citizen).” If you’re unemployed but earning passive income (e.g., investment income, bank deposit interest, royalty income, etc.), mark the “Passive Income Earner Only” box.
- Write down your Country of Residence (Philippines), complete name (Taxpayer’s Name – If Individual field), and complete address (Local/Registered Address field).
- Fill out the form with the other required details: birthdate, landline or mobile number, mother’s maiden name, father’s name, gender, and email address.
- Part II – Transaction Details: Select your purpose of applying for a TIN. For unemployed Filipinos, the applicable choice is either “Dealings with Banks” (i.e., for opening a savings/checking or investment account) or “Dealings with Government Agencies” (i.e., transactions with the LTO, NBI, DFA, etc.).
- Declaration: Write your name and put your signature over it.
- For other fields not mentioned above (which don’t apply to you), you can just leave them blank.
- Fill out a second copy of the BIR Form 1904.
3. Go to the BIR RDO and submit the requirements.
Bring all the TIN application requirements to the RDO of the city or municipality where you live.
Tell the BIR officer that you’re applying for TIN under EO 98. Also, explain why you need a TIN. You’ll be allowed to proceed with your TIN application only if your purpose is valid (i.e., a transaction with any government office or a bank).
When you apply for TIN at the BIR RDO, any of these three scenarios could happen. Here’s what you can do should you encounter one:
- You’ll be told you’re not eligible for a TIN because you’re unemployed. – Politely remind them about your right to secure a TIN under EO 98.
- You’ll be asked to submit additional documents before you’re issued a TIN. – Again, being prepared will save you from the hassle of going back and forth at the RDO for your TIN application. Be sure to bring applicable supporting documents with you when applying for a TIN.
- You’ll be given a different BIR form to fill out for TIN registration. – If you’re handed the BIR Form 1901 or 1902, remind them that you’re registering under EO 98. This is why it’s important to come prepared with your accomplished BIR Form 1904 because this is the correct TIN application form for unemployed applicants.
However, if you’re applying for TIN as part of the pre-employment requirements for your new job, you should be filing the BIR Form 1902 instead.
4. Wait for your TIN.
After you submit the complete requirements, the BIR personnel will process your TIN application.
Once your TIN is generated, you’ll be issued your copy of the BIR Form 1904 with a “Received” stamp. Keep your receiving copy, which now has your Tax Identification Number written on it.
The BIR officer will tell you when you can return to the RDO to claim your TIN ID.
Tips and Warnings.
1. Don’t register for multiple TINs.
Have you ever been issued a TIN? No need to get a new TIN, even if you’re changing a job, starting a business as a single proprietor, or transitioning from employment to full-time freelancing. In any of these cases, you can only update your registration information like your RDO.
If you lost or forgot your TIN, try these easy ways to recover your TIN.
Just don’t get a new TIN if you already got one. Having multiple TINs is a criminal offense in the Philippines, with a penalty of Php 1,000 per additional TIN obtained.