The Consequences of Not Having a Business Permit in the Philippines

Updated: March 24, 2017

Are you planning to operate without a business permit?

It is always tempting to do so, especially given the long process of registering a business in the Philippines.

However, I wouldn’t advise it unless you want to risk facing unfavorable consequences, which will be explained to us today by guest writer, Danella.

Let’s read what she has to say.


The government has attempted to ease the burden on business owners by offering online options to secure the business permit you need to operate legitimately. Aside from tax purposes, this also lets our official ensure a minimum level of quality of services and products from prospective business owners.

However it does come with fees and charges – money that could be a big difference if you’re working on a tight budget; not to mention that every year entails the renewal of said business permits.

The idea of operating without proper papers may be enticing if you find yourself in that scenario, but what would happen if you attempted to fly under the radar – and then got caught?

Remember, that aside from efforts of city inspectors, a business lacking proper permits can also be brought to their attention by concerned citizens: especially disgruntled ones who have received service of a subpar nature.

Government Fines

The initial damage would be monetary compensation. The criminal penalty for “Failure to Register,” or operating an unregistered business according to BIR regulations is “Fine of not less than P5,000 but not more than P20,000 and imprisonment of not less than 6 months but not more than 2 years.”

The compromise amount depends on the location of the establishment: P20,000 in Cities, P10,000 in 1st class municipalities, P5,000 in 2nd class municipalities, and P2,000 in 3rd class municipalities.

Take note that amount is only for a single violation in their “REVISED SCHEDULE OF COMPROMISE PENALTY.” Failure to register could lead to a myriad of other violations that each have their corresponding fee.

LGU Penalties

In addition to your obligation to the taxman, you may also receive penalties, which vary according to location or city hall that you have registered under.

For example: In Makati, the penalty for non-renewed business permits is a 25% surcharge of the total amount due, plus an additional 2% for every month of delay until settlement. That’s a fee that can quickly rack up!


In more extreme cases of delinquency, such as operating for several years without a business permit–or not having one in the first place–the local government can move to close down your operations until you have settled your deficiencies.

Seizure of property and assets is also a possibility–especially when it comes to violations of secondary permits such as health, sanitation, and fire safety requirements.

Another ground for seizure is continuing to run the business despite an order from the city hall to cease your operations; in that case the local police may be called in to enforce the local government’s decision.

An attempt to run from the penalties by shuttering or abandoning the business is also unwise, because there are also regulations and procedures for the proper shutting down of a business.

It will also leave a black mark on your record that LGU’s or the BIR can see if you ever decide to pursue it again in the future. The cons far outweigh any possible pros by operating illegitimately, so be sure to keep everything on the level as a business owner!

This article is written by Danella Yaptinchay. She is the managing director of Full Suite, a service company providing back end support to small businesses.

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Photo credits: danielfoster


  1. This is very timely as I recently thought of creating an online business. I thought registering it shouldn’t be a priority since it’s mainly online, but then I realized, it’s better to have a legitimate business than be constantly worried of the what if’s —what if my client asks for a receipt, what if they think i’m not trustworthy, what if they want to verify if my business is legit, etc.

  2. I am also running an online business and have an existing contract with a Virtual Office provider located in Makati, so I have registered both my BIR and Business permits under that city. But I am running it from home, which is located in Manila. Does that mean I should also get a business permit in Manila? What about my BIR records? I hope you can enlighten me on this one. Thanks!

  3. How about koreans who are running a house tutorial without business permit? Filinvest 1 in batasan has been a house of illegal house tutorials for korean students especially in summer camp (starts in June) and winter camp (starts in December).

  4. Where do we report a car repair shop and now even car repainting without a business permit in Imus, Cavite?

  5. How much the payment of violation of non-business permit, but i have a BIR ,only business permit non.thank you.

  6. any advice on how can i report a company operating for years now without any business permit?

  7. What is the proper way to report a business in Metro Manila that is not registered and operating without a permit?

  8. How to report mr. Kleen laundry business operating in guyong Santa maria in bulacan for almost 3years now not renewing business permit .no bir receipt.thanks concerned.

  9. well there are millions of Filipinos doing businesses without permits like push cart business. Do they really need to apply for business permits?

  10. Please check all gown and suit rental in Mati Davao Oriental. Ang dami ng ng ooperate sa bagay Nila. Malulugi ka I. Unfair

  11. What should i do if I’m planing to shut down my business. I am operating a Transportation business “Grab” and I want to quit.

  12. WHEN AND HOW TO REPORT a apartment buildings operating.wirhout permit and reigstered as residential.instead of commercial

  13. I got my DTI certificate recently but I change my mind of pursuing the business; thus, I will not secure business permits anymore from Barangay / Mayor’s / BIR.

    Would there be any fine / penalty for this?

    Thank you

  14. Someone came to my husband’s shop asking for a receipt, he was given a receipt with the item he purchased, later on, he came back asking to have services listed on the receipt which was done by a different shop near us, the owner of that shop even came to our business, unpolitely asking us to issue receipts for their customers because they do not have one. How do we report this?

  15. What is the proper way to report a business in Biñan laguna that is not registered and operating without a permit?

  16. an individual engage lending business without permit and i ask a receipts for my payments and no receipts issue..

  17. How can we report a business without permit operating for how many years also have many problems about waste management and cleanliness about food and operating area?

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