These are the steps and my personal experience on how to register to BIR as a Self-employed Freelancer.

Please note that all of these transactions were made in Cebu City.

FIRST STEP: Do Your Research

It is always a good practice to do your research before applying.

In my experience, I searched online on how to apply as a freelancer, and I read tons of blogs and personal experiences on how they did it. It helps to smoothen the process if you already have an idea of how the application will go.

Another thing to consider is to ask your friends or family who registered as self-employed or those who work in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).


STEP 1: Mayor’s Permit

  1. Occupational Tax Receipt (OTR) for non-licensed professionals (Example: freelancers, writers, graphic artists)
  2. Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) for licensed professionals (examples: accountants, lawyers, engineers, nurses, doctors, etc.)
  3. Validity: Until December 31st of the same year when you registered

I got an Occupational Tax Receipt (OTR)  as a Digital Content Creator from Cebu City Hall and I paid PHP 190. 

If you are a freelancer, you can add your specialization if you want.

It was a quick process, I waited for my turn to pay for the OTR, went to the other room and got my OTR card. That’s it!


  1. Without TIN Number
    1. Get a Tax Identification Number and fill up BIR Form 1901
    2. You can register online or go to the nearest BIR office in your area to register manually.
    3. Get your TIN ID at the BIR Office.
  2. With Existing TIN Number
    1. Fill-up BIR Form 1905 to change your status from employed to self-employed.
    2. If employed, you can declare that you’re a “mixed-income” earner.
    3. If you need to change RDO (Regional District office), go to your current RDO and ask to change it.
    4. If you are unemployed and you want to change your RDO, you can email the RDO to update your RDO number. Check the emails here (

I was registered in RDO 081 from my previous company and I currently reside in RDO 082, where I will register my BIR Permit.

I went to RDO 081 and they requested the change for me and when I went to RDO 082 and got my new TIN ID, my new address is already registered.

STEP 3: Certificate of Registration (COR)

  1. Fill-up BIR Form 0605
    1. COR is PHP 500. 
    2. You can pay directly to the BIR office. You can also pay to any AAB (Authorized Agent Banks) of your RDO to pay for this
    3. Keep your copy of the payment form and the receipt from the bank and photocopy both, 3 copies each. 
    4. It will take one to two weeks to get your certificate.
    5. Pay for Certification Fee for PHP 15 and the Documentary Stamp Tax for PHP 15

It is always good that you know the process already to avoid the back and forth process. During my registration, it was a bit hard and it took a lot of time and eventually it went well since I asked a lot of questions from BIR employees to avoid the hassle.

I paid PHP 500 for the Certification of Registrations and I paid for the stamps too.

STEP 4: Buy Journal & Ledger Books and Print your Receipts

  1. Journal books and Ledger – You can but this in any bookstore.
  2. Print Your receipts – Your RDO will give you a list of accredited Printers of Receipts/Invoices 
    1. Bring the following to the Printing Office, Fill-up 1906 from, photocopy of 0605 form with the receipt from the bank, photocopy of Certificate of Registration.
    2. The receipts are valid for 5 years. 
    3. Price Varies.

I bought a Journal and Ledgers Books at a bookstore. Self-employed professionals are required to maintain a book of accounts. All accounts are required to be preserved within the prescriptive period (three years from the close of the taxable year) for post-audit examination.

It is necessary to print your receipts in case BIR should ask for it.

There are guidelines that should be followed upon invoicing:

  1. Receipts or sales invoices should each have corresponding serial numbers.
  2. The name of the business, the TIN, and the business address of the Professional should also appear on the invoice.
  3. Receipts or invoices should be issued to every payment received by the professional.
  4. The original copy of receipts or invoices should be issued to the client upon the transaction. Meanwhile, a duplicate copy should be preserved in the place of business for a period of three (3) years from the close of the taxable year.

Please note that as a freelancer, it is okay if you can’t give the physical invoice to your clients. As long as you are sending them a digital copy, I think that is okay.

STEP 5: Attend the required seminar

After you submit all the forms and requirements, you need to attend the required seminar about filing taxes. 

During the seminar, they will discuss all the things you need to do. Take this chance to ask any questions and clarifications to the BIR officer. The duration of the seminar usually takes 1-2 hours long.

Just ask your RDO about the schedule of the seminar for the self-employed freelancer.

In my RDO – No 082, it is scheduled every Wednesday at 9 am. 

So that’s the entire process I went through registering as a self-employed professional.

Please do note that it might be a different process in your RDO. In that case, here is the list of basic and possible requirements they will ask from you:

  • NSO Birth Certificate,
  • At least 2 government-issued Valid IDs.
  • Copy of Contract with a client (to prove that you are a freelancer),
  • Barangay Certification, and
  • Special Power of Attorney (in case you will have someone else to do the registration on your behalf)

Are you also a freelancer? I hope all of this information is helpful!