Thank you Clarissa for your inquiry. This answer also appears on the The Filipino freelancers' guide to paying taxes and securing social benefits.
Do you need to register your freelance business at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the municipal office? The answer to this question will depend on the nature of your freelance business. Do you want a business name? Do you want to establish the physical presence of your business by renting an office with your business name affixed by its entrance? If so, t
hen you will have to register at the DTI (prepare a list of three names, as one of them might have been used already) and secure a mayor's permit from the municipal office.
You may inquire more about these matters from the BIR officer of the day or the local agencies concerned. In most cases, the DTI and the mayor's permits will not be required especially from professional income earners who do not use a business name and/or
rent a space which displays a name identified with their
. In that regard, securing a
mayor's permit has a set of different requirements, made available for their community residents who wish to start their own business.
I once registered my food business at DTI and secured the mayor's permit from the municipal office when I operated Saint Al's Food and Bakeshop. My business entailed not only my services as a food service provider, but it also involved my expertise as cook and baker.
I secured these documents (DTI and mayor's permit) in compliance with the BIR's list of requirements. I supposed any business people will be securing these requirements too if BIR has issued them this same list--again, depending on the type of services they provide.
(But I closed the food shop after five years of operation and cleared my records as proprietress of said business at the BIR. So, if you're closing a BIR-registered shop or business, please make sure that you get your clearance from the BIR as well to avoid paying for accumulated penalties.)