Archive | PERSONAL

Bloggers Taxed: Yay or Nay?

I’m sure many of you knew about the recent big news in the blogging community.

Several bloggers have received a letter from IRAS and was surprised by the clause that states that non monetary benefits, including sponsored products, food tasting sessions, sponsored trips etc are taxable!

Here’s my take on this issue as a new tax payer, a blogger with a full time job and also a freelance MUA. (This year is my second time filing tax and I’m pretty familiar with some of the terms since I did a lot of reading when I was filing my taxes last year.)

Yes. Bloggers should file whatever income($$) they earn via their blogs regardless in the form of banner ads or advertorials.

In fact, regardless of what are you working as, you should file all sources of income on top of the one from your full time job. When you are filing taxes, it’s actually all listed there. Main income, side income etc.

The issue here is that non monetary benefits are taxable too. Sponsored products, trips, and even food tasting! To be honest, the food tasting one is too ridiculous!

Before bloggers, Journalists have been attending media events, media launches, food tasting, receiving products for reviews etc. Are they being taxed for those? Are because that’s under their main job scope so they don’t have to file separately?

Bloggers taxed, means that the government is recognizing it as a profession. So why we do have to file these benefits separately when it’s part of the job?

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Why We Should Not Be Taxed On Non Monetary Benefits?

Most bloggers started blogging due to passion and drive. We blog because we want to share. Personally, I started beauty blogging because I love beauty and also wanted to share my journey of handling acne issues. It began as a platform to share and soon, marketers realized that blogs is a good alternative to be sending their products for reviews as compared to magazines and mainstream media. So began the trend of blogger events, media invites to bloggers, sending products to review etc. Blogs were seen as a good alternative to market products and services. Then come the companies whom gathered groups of more prominent bloggers and started to promote bloggers to companies. And slowly, the whole blogging scene started to monetized.

For a blogger like me, any monetary income is a bonus. I enjoy receiving products for reviews because there’s only so much I can buy and I like to try and share new stuff. Often, you will be more educated about the product you received for review as these information will be provided in the form of a press release. To be honest, my skin have suffered from all the product testing throughout my 8 years of beauty blogging. I put in time and effort, and the health of my skin to review these sponsored products for the masses. The particular product might not be even suitable for my skin! Why do I have to pay tax for these? In that case, I rather spend that money in buying products that are of my liking and products that I know are suitable for my skin.

And what about those products that we received, tried but didn’t write about it as it is not to our liking? There’s no service rendered for these products, so by right there’s no transaction. So these should not be taxed right?

Regardless of the opinions of bloggers, I’m pretty sure IRAS is not going to change their mind any time soon. Which brings me to my next point.

How Do We Go About Tracking the Values These Non Monetary Benefits?

Are companies and brands going to be providing invoices and documents to aid us in filing our taxes? How do we know the market value if we are not provided of such information? For example, sponsored trips. Food tasting wise, if the portions served are not the standard portions served to paying customers, how do we value the meal?

I believe that restaurants and cafes that often invite bloggers for food tasting will be affected most. Now that it’s taxable, most bloggers would probably just reject such invites. Rather pay and blog about my own meals than having to note down how much was that food tasting for tax filing.

Products wise is not too difficult since most of the time we are provided with the retail prices. Just that we must go through the hassle of keeping track of the items received and their values. Not too much of a hassle for me since I have very little sponsorship these days. What to do, am a small time blogger here. ­čśŤ

I can actually foresee 3 kinds of situations occurring:

  • Bloggers/influencers being more selective and rejecting sponsorship, especially food tasting. This will highly affect the marketers with low budget.
  • Bloggers/influencers asking for┬ámonetary reimbursement in return for the product reviews/ food tasting etc. Back to point 1, those companies with no budget can no longer ride on free reviews in┬áreturn for the products/meal. (Additional legit reason for bloggers to get compensated properly for our efforts. We have to pay tax also!)┬á
  • In any community, there are bound to have black sheep! Expect mask ads/ reviews stating that they actually bought the product when they are actually sponsored.

Basic Facts on Filing Taxes

  • You have to file taxes as long as your gross annual income is above $20,000. Regardless if you received the letter or SMS from IRAS.
  • All sources of income should be filed.┬áTaking myself for an example, I have to include my gross income from my full time job, any income from my freelancing and any $$ income from the blog.
  • The first $20,000 of your income is not taxable. For an example, if your income is $30,000, the taxable income is $10,000. And the rate for this $10,000 is 2% which is $200. Refer to this link for the tax rate.
  • There’s something called tax reliefs. Donating to charity, having kids etc, contributing to CPF are all eligible for tax reliefs! Refer to┬áthe whole list of tax reliefs available! Tax reliefs can lower your taxable income by a significant amount.
In a nutshell,

Unless you are a big time blogger earning thousands of dollars for a single post, getting your house renovations/ weddings etc sponsored. You probably don’t have to worry too much on the tax that you have to pay because that amount will most probably be quite little?┬á┬áLet’s all be a good citizen and file our taxes.

XOXO,

Joyce.Forensia

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Being 25

  

So, the birthday have just passed and I finally hit the 25 mark. This is the age where we call the ‘Quarter Life Crisis’. 

I’ve a stable job that I enjoyed though it took up a lot of my time. I’m finally putting my words into action and taking the first steps into make up artistry. I’m starting to plan my finances though it’s a bit late and I’m ashame to say I do not have a substantial amount of savings yet. Yes, perhaps I should not spend a huge amount of my paychecks on dolls and life is pretty boring without a hobby. I should probably slow down on acquiring new dolls though. But baby steps first, one step at a time and I believed I’m able to set aside funds for myself in future. 

Relationships wise, it’s complicated. I think I’ve too high an ego for a woman. Perhaps, it is better that I just be alone. 

Friendships wise, I guess it changes as we all aged. Time is a huge factor to friendships I think. Gone are the days where we can meet whenever we want. We all have our own schedules and it’s simply too hard to find a time that every single one is free. But I guess, those who will stay will stay and those who wants to leave will bound to leave. 

Family wise, I’m glad I’m spending more time with my brothers and my mum. Back when I was a lot younger and full of negativity, I resented them and blame them for many things in life. But as I grow up and mature a little over time, I started to appreciate them bit by bit. We might not be the most perfect or normal family out there but I believed that we are happy in the way we are. 

As for this space, I actually have mixed feelings. There was a time I had my peak as a blogger but it didn’t last long and I fell hard. Though I must say that I’m very grateful for those who believe and supported me all this while. There might not be many now, but as a writer and creator I’ll still continue to churn out content for my dear readers. This space holds my dreams and passion and I know I will not give it up easily. 

Life is short, too short to be sad about. I will try my best to make myself happier and a better person as each day passes. 

XOXO,
Joyce.Forensia

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Hello 2015!

Hello 2015!

Happy New Year by the way people!

I know I’m a little late for new year greetings and a tad too early for Chinese new year ones.

Hope 2015 have been kind to everyone so far. ­čÖé

I am not going to go through a list of new year resolutions as I hardly ever achieve anything all these years.
Hence I don’t really see a point to think of resolutions that I will probably forget a few weeks into the new year.

2014 have been a rough year for me.
Been through job changes, new environments and having to adapt and learn the ropes all over again twice. I’m glad to say at least┬áI’m happy with where I’m now though I’ve longer working hours and not working in the glamorous CBD area anymore.

The blog have been pretty stagnant too as I was distracted with too many things that have been going on in my life. I changed to a self hosted server and switched to┬áa simpler layout. Come this year, I’ll give more love to this virtual space which I proudly call mine. I’ve also made exciting plans in terms of beauty for myself and the blog. Will sure once it’s 100% confirmed! ­čÖé

Health wise, I’ve fallen sick more times than before. I’ve also neglected exercise in the latter half of 2014. This time round, I am going to allocate time for exercise which I will commit to in 2015.

Weight wise is still on the high side but I’ve NouriFBC to thank for, as I’ve dropped inches and half a size. Now, XL is too big for me when it used to fit just nice, and I can fit into M for certain cuttings.

I want to try to go all out┬áto get to my ideal body size and weight this 2015. And also for health sake, did I ever mention that I have high cholesterol two years back? I’m not sure if it went down as I did not have a chance to go for a test since. I have not been watching my diet carefully though I’m proud to say I quit bubble tea and even if i do drink it, it will be 0% sugar. I also cut down a lot on fast good, probably had it less than 10 times in 2014.

I think one thing I failed in life ever since I started working is that I do not save. It is a bad habit to be living on your monthly pay with nothing to fall back on. It won’t be easy saving much with the plans I have for 2015 but I aim to at least clear all my debts(still paying my study loan for Polytechnic) and have at least two months worth of salary as emergency savings.

Got to curb all those retail therapy urges and find some other harmless to the pocket activities when I need to release some stress.

It’s also quarter life crisis for me this 2015, hitting that 25 mark. Gosh, I can’t believe that I’m turning 25 so soon! It felt like I’ve just graduated from Polytechnic. I decided that to handle this “crisis”, I’m going to put focus on self improvement. Be it work, personal, mentally or physically, I want to be a better person.

And nope, this post shall not have any images. I have also decided that I want to write more this year too.

Looking forward to a great 2015 with you guys!

Cheers!

Joyce.Forensia

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Hello December!

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It’s been awhile since I last wrote a more personal blog post. It’s mostly reviews after reviews these days. Not that I don’t enjoy doing reviews, but I kind of prefer doing non sponsored reviews like how when I first started beauty blogging on Onsugar 5 years ago. To be honest, I kind of stray from the path I first set myself on when I started writing about beauty. I guess this is why it seems obligatory when I’m writing reviews nowadays and I’m losing the personal touch.

In a blink of an eye, it’s already December and 2014 is coming to an end. 2014 is pretty eventful though not really in a good way for me. But December is a season of festive joy so let’s just enjoy this celebration month and start anew in 2015. ┬áI promise more out of my own pocket reviews, more hauls, and I’m trying to get active on Youtube once more. I’m trying to save up for an iMac so I can churn out better quality videos, but it won’t be anytime soon seeing how much I spend on beauty shopping. LOL.

Also, there will be more personal ramblings from me which you might not be so interested in. But hey, I’m hitting quarter life crisis in a month, I need an outlet to release my thoughts and this is my space. My own domain, my very own virtual space where I pen down or rather type out my journey and share it with the whole internet.

I’m planning a giveaway for this festive month with the support of a few brands that I’ve enjoyed working with,so keep a lookout for it! It’s the very least I can do for all you readers who have stuck with me with the many moves and changes of my blog! I’ve also re-branded all my social media channels to Joyce Forenisa/@joyceforensia so you now how to look for me on google! Thanks for reading the posts that I’ve written and I hope you stay with me on this journey of discovering life and beauty products!

XOXO,
Joyce.Forensia

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Cousins* Annual Picnic V

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5th Annual Picnic at the Barrage! Missing Conan, Kaixin and Dawn who left early! Credits to JingLong for above collages!

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The annual picnic is one of our traditions, to gather and just chill and take down memories in form of photos. It’s a celebration of our friendship!

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We have a little one with us this time! Jiaqi’s 8 month old nephew who’s so adorable! Who knows, couple of years down the road we will be bringing out our own kids for the gathering. Lol

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The girls! Missing Dawn who left early and Kaixin who’s not there. We don’t initially have so many girls in the group but our guys got girlfriends who eventually got so close that we became one big family! Kudos to RX and Amanda who made the effort to join us on the many gatherings while sacrificing quality couple time. :p

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And the boys! I can’t believed that I’ve known Weijie since 2008 which means I known him for nearly 7 years already. Missing Conan who sadly kena NDP duty.

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Cousins* officially bonded since 2010 with the beginnings of our many traditions. Many people often mistakes us as real cousins. Lol. From bloggers, to friends and I’ll say we are like family now. The best thing that ever happened to me from blogging is Cousins*. Many more years ahead of us, many more picnics, many more Xmas staycations and many more memories to be created.

Love,
Joyce.Forensia

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