Thursday, April 7, 2016

Singapore Bloggers to Pay Tax to IRAS?

~Image Source: FetchScape~

In a weird way, I am glad my work was so demanding to the point that I was too tired and exhausted to blog here for the past year or so. As most of us by now would have known, especially those of you who blog whether on a regular or irregular basis that IRAS has sent out letters to some big name bloggers in Singapore asking them to pay taxes for writing sponsored blog posts. And as some bloggers pointed out in our local newspaper report, the reason why bloggers take on sponsored reviews/products is solely for the main reason of creating content.

To phrase it in another way, if you were to see me posting only and only samples on this blog, would you lose interest in what I write? Probably. Because anyone else can do the same. But if I were to include sponsored posts on products given to me on a complimentary basis, there's something new I bring to my blog, other than blogging solely on samples only. And to tell the truth, I personally feel that sample redemptions seemed to have slowed down quite a margin ever since I went on a year plus hiatus. When I first started out on this blog, there were samples left, right, front and back, no matter which part of the Internet I go to. But now, it seems that online FB contests are the rage to me.

Worst type of online FB contest are those that ask for votes, as it's easy for the same group of people to cheat repeatedly before the rest of us honest contest junkies found out that they are cheating the system. And that isn't the so-called "worse-case scenario". Upon being caught and reported, these cheaters would blatantly look for means and ways to turn the tables back on you who dared to report their cheating ways, instead of repenting and playing fair. But enough of this old issue, as I'm rather way past these type of contests. I'd prefer the type of contests where winners are picked by the group of people who hold these contests, so that players who play fair know that cheating is not allowed in any way. Not that there is a way to cheat, as long as it doesn't involve "votes".

Back to the issue of paying tax for writing sponsored products.

This letter could very well come our way too in the near future, especially my way too, if we were to indulge in sponsored products blogging. I still think I could be a niche in this world of beauty products blogging, as my primary source of materials actually comes from samples most of the time. From now on, I guess I should probably include products that I bought on my own, as I've usually done since the start of this blog. Or in other words, I've successfully averted receiving a IRAS letter, no doubt thanks to my old job which I have quit a few months back. Just on the path of finding a part-time job instead, which is nearer to my home would meant more time being able to spend on this blog and with my loyal fans who haven't yet ditched me while I was busy trying to "heal" myself by resting more.

In future, I would still be blogging via using samples but also on products I've bought myself. no doubt. But another way to combat not having receipts of any kind for sponsored product blogging would be to have a list of what sponsored product(s) one has written before. I have this inkling something like this might happened, hence the Sponsored link above where I can keep track of what sponsored products I have reviewed previously. This isn't really a foolproof idea, no matter how you look at it, as a sponsored product doesn't come with a receipt in the first place. Whoever has heard of a sponsored product that comes with one anyway, not that I personally have heard of ever since I started blogging on my "still-on-hiatus" main blog since early April 2007 :o

But to have a page where you list your various and all sponsored products sent to you for blogging makes it easier to keep track of things. The heck! I even tag product name of the product I am blogging about as a label for easy searching and referencing, although the down point to this method is that your labels just keep getting bigger and bigger over time as you keep on blogging more and more LOL

This issue can be a boon or a bane to some of us, if you look at it from another viewpoint. Those of us bloggers who only seemed to get that few sponsored products for blogging once in a while would probably rejoice, as this means those lucky enough to keep bagging sponsored product reviewing has to *ahem* "pay" their dues as they seemed so lucky. But at the same time, those who are lucky enough to get sponsored products for reviewing could probably use the IRAS letter as a bragging rights in another way, to maybe gain more publicity for their blogs, which in turn meant more ad revenue for their pockets though. (Admit it, most of us probably flock to these big-name bloggers blog's just to see what they say about getting that dreaded IRAS letter.)

I'm kinda stuck in between these 2 viewpoints I have thought up as personally, I'm glad I am not too popular to be blogging free beauty stuffs on a really regular basis, while part of me still want my blog to be famous, but in a good way because I know I can bring quality writing to the sponsored product I am tasked with testing, reviewing and writing. Ah~ the woes of a beauty product blogger who cannot decide whether she wants her blog to be well-know or not @_@

To sum this issue up, I personally think it is unfair to ask bloggers to pay taxes just for reviewing sponsored products. Because the bottom line is, everyone wants to be the lucky one to get their hands on a new product and share their viewpoints on the pros and cons of it. Hence it's called "Sponsored Review" for a good reason, as the product is sent free only to a selected few bloggers. And also for companies who held these sponsored products reviewing projects only want the sole purpose to drum up good reviews and good hype for a soon-to-be launched product that will be released in Singapore, and hopefully stay as a much needed commodity for a long-term basis. No companies would want to do this sponsored review projects if the product itself isn't going to be a permanent fixture in the Singapore market.

And to the Singapore government, please lah! This is actually a way to boost the economy also. See? Companies wants to launch new products in Singapore, but need a group of people to review, try and write about their experiences in using it. Normal people who just don't blog, but take pleasure in reading comments on whether this new product will work for them or not. Normal people and people who have tested the sponsored products wants to buy said products, means Singapore is earning from that imported product somehow. It's actually a 2 way win-win situation no matter how you look at it. Just scrap that IRAS letter to bloggers who bothered to review and write sponsored products, not penalised them for it :(


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