Category Archives: Taxes

More questions on Philippine taxation of foreign capital gains and dividends

I’ve written a few posts on how the Philippines taxes income from capital gains and dividends from foreign stocks:

It was confusing at first but I have since come to the conclusion that since there is no law or BIR ruling that specifically provides for fixed tax rates or exempts foreign capital gains and dividends, they fall into the catch-all category of “non-business/non-profession” income that will be taxed at ordinary graduated income rates. Still, I have few more questions.

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How to pay lower US taxes on US investments as a non-resident alien from the Philippines

I’ve discussed the important IRS tax issues when investing in the US as a non-resident alien from the Philippines in a previous post. I’ll repeat some of them here in discussing the known ways of lowering or avoiding altogether some of these US taxes.

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Is FMETF an accumulating ETF or a distributing ETF?

The Philippines has only one available ETF in the market: the pioneering First Metro ETF (FMETF) which aims to the track the PSE Composite Index (PSEi).

When an ETF receives dividends from corporations whose shares it owns, it can either reinvest those dividends within the fund (accumulating ETF), or distribute the dividends to ETF shareholders (distributing ETF). So under which category does FMETF fall?

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Thoughts on PERA in comparison to US retirement accounts

I have just started to read about PERA retirement accounts that have been recently made available to Filipino workers, including those working abroad. There have already been many articles written about PERA all over the web so I won’t bother with all the nitty-gritty details. You can read a good introduction on PERA from Katie Scarlett Needs Money.

PERA stands for Personal Equity and Retirement Account. They are often described as the Philippine version of American retirement accounts like 401(k) and traditional IRA accounts. I still have my own 401(k) and traditional IRA accounts from my time working in the U.S. so I find these comparisons interesting. In this post, I’d like to explore these comparisons in more detail.

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Are gains from US equity feeder funds taxable by the BIR?

I previously wrote about the lack of information on how the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue taxes foreign capital gains, dividends, and interest income. We know that the U.S. imposes a final withholding tax of 25% and 15% on dividend and interest income, respectively for Philippine residents based on the U.S.-Philippines tax treaty. On the other hand, capital gains received by non-resident aliens are not taxed by the U.S.

The BIR has no published rule that sets an explicit final tax rate on foreign capital gains income. Local stock market sales are taxed based on the gross sales amount. Capital gains on shares on unlisted domestic corporations are taxed at 15%. The going assumption then is that any income not subject to an explicit final tax rate is subject to the graduated personal income tax rates.

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How are foreign capital gains taxed in the Philippines?

I previously discussed how the US taxes dividends and interest income of non-resident aliens investing in the US stock market. In summary, 15% tax is withheld from interest income, 25% tax is withheld from dividend income, while no taxes are withheld from capital gains.

But how does the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Philippines tax these types of income? The short answer is: It’s not clear. The long answer is as follows:

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Investing in the US from the Philippines as non-resident alien: IRS tax issues

When you open an online trading account in a U.S. brokerage account like Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade, and you’re not an American citizen, you don’t have a green card, and you don’t live in the U.S., you’re generally classified as a non-resident alien by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the U.S. Even as a non-resident alien, some or all of your income from your trading account may still be subject to taxes by the U.S.

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