‘Online barter’ for personal deals not illegal

July 16, 2020

Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez has clarified his recent statement that “‘online barter” is illegal, saying exchanges of goods for personal transactions, not as business, is allowed.

In a text message, Lopez said barter trade is only allowed in three areas in the country -- Siasi, Jolo; Sulu and Bonggao, Tawi-Tawi.

“Outside those areas, barter trading across borders is not allowed. This is what I meant as illegal if done in other areas, or if done online and cross border and as a regular business, in (the) course of trade and not registered, not taxed,” he said.

During the community quarantine period, there is a resurgence of barter trading -- the world’s oldest form of trade by exchanging goods and services with no money involved in the transaction -- but it is now done in social media.

Exchanging their used gadgets for food and vegetable harvest for school supplies are among the transactions in the ‘online barter’, which are personal transactions.

The DTI chief said local barter trade is subject to regulation. 

It should be registered and is subject to tax if done in the course of business, he added.

Lopez further said this is also applicable to online transactions.

Barters with annual gross sales of P3 million are exempted from paying value-added tax, he said.

“However, personal transactions, not in the course of trade and business, are not covered by registration requirements,” he added.