The Scientist’s Guide to the BIR and Paying Taxes

The University of the Philippines System recently issued a memo that all contractual staff have to be registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) as “professionals” and provide UP with official receipts for services rendered. Unfortunately, project-based research assistants are included in this category. MSI was nice enough to bring in a Certified Public Accountant to give a short talk/lecture about what the new memo means and how to go about the registration process and the additional tax forms we have to submit. That was the first time I’d seen an entire auditorium of MS and PhD students and graduates dumbfounded and confused. I’ve already started the registration process because of my freelance science writing gigs for GMA News Online, which started requiring ORs just last July, so I’m in a better position compared to the other RAs who are just doing it now. I hope this little blog post can help my fellow researchers navigate the murky waters of registering as a professional and what that means for taxes.

Note: This post is not a discussion about whether requiring RAs to provide UP with ORs is right or fair, but for the record, we work for unremarkable salaries, no benefits, no paid leaves, and no healthcare. The visiting CPA fielded a ton of questions about what registration means for ongoing contracts (those with ongoing contracts are essentially f*cked) and the additional tax filings (more on that later).

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Maybank Secure Online Shopping – for peace of mind online

It’s fascinating to see how much online shopping has grown in the Philippines, from eBay to the now-defunct Multiply, to the rise of mom-and-pop online stores and international retailers that ship to the Philippines (finally!). With added competition among retailers comes the advent of the deal site, where savvy consumers can browse through discounted high-end vacations, clothes, new experiences, and gadgets. However, these deals are time-sensitive and some folks miss out on these kickass discounts because these usually require a credit card to pay. Not everyone is comfortable with paying online, with some even opting to pay in cash at payment centers even if they have credit cards. Enter Maybank’s Maybank Secure Online Shopping (MSOS).


The Maybank Secure Online Shopping (MSOS) is intuitive to use and a free service for all Maybank credit cardholders. At the shopping website’s checkout page, you enter your credit card details as usual. Next, you’re taken to an authentication page where you need to enter your One-Time Password (OTP) to complete the transaction. The OTP is sent to your registered mobile phone number within 3-45 seconds and is valid for only 5 minutes. Enter the correct OTP within the allowed time frame and your shopping cart pushes through. It’s that simple! The hardest part in all this is probably waiting for your goodies to arrive 😛 Aside from providing a secure online shopping experience, Maybank is also partnering with online merchants for exclusive deals in the days to come, so keep an eye out for those.

Existing Maybank credit cardholders that already receive SMS alerts are automatically enrolled in this new service. If you need to update your contact information or enroll a supplementary card, please call Maybank’s 24/7 Customer Service Hotline at +632-5883888 or PLDT Domestic Toll Free number at 1-800-10-588-3888.



DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post, meaning I received compensation for writing this. However, rest assured that I wouldn’t write a sponsored post for something I didn’t actually like.

Why I want to make money

This post was inspired by Danes’ post of the same title. I’m quoting her entire post here because it’s that awesome:

1.  So I don’t have to worry about not having it.

2.  So I can help people out. [Idea: Library/study place for students, since we have really crappy or few libraries.]

3.  So I can do the things I really want to do. If I want to stop working and just read for three months straight, YES I CAN. FYEAH. If I want to walk where Julie Delpy did in Before Sunset, YES I CAN.

4.  It buys me time, to a certain extent.

5.  It will enable me to do super awesome things [e.g. do all of the things on the GISHWHES List, if I wanted to] which will likely include charitable activities.

How can it be a bad thing to want money? It isn’t. You might be referring to greed instead.

My reaction to her post was “This, this, and THIS!!!” and followed by “Like like MEGA LIKE :D” on her Facebook page. Having been raised by a capitalist – my mother sold underwear to her classmates in college before starting something that eventually grew into a multimillion peso corporation – I firmly believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with having money and wanting to have more of it. More than anything else, having more money means having more opportunities. If I had more money, I’d be able to buy out my scholarship and travel more. If I had more money, I’d be able to donate even more to charity. Money is a very useful thing to have and something that can bring about a whole lot of good.

The problem is that money’s bad reputation came about because of greed, not a want of money. Those are two entirely different things. Once money becomes an end instead of a means – that’s greed. So don’t be put off if I sometimes talk about business or investing. That’s just me ensuring that I have the money to live comfortably, that my (future) husband and I will be able to provide all the things (and hopefully more) that my parents were able to give me.