Authored by Dylan Chong. You may email him at


Youtuber or Social Media Influencer (the “creator”) posts picture or video on youtube and their social media platform to get views. If the creator has a lot of followers and their video has high viewership, share, engagement in comment section and get re-posted in the social media platform, they maybe paid handsomely by Youtube based on Youtube Algorithm. The Creator can also monetize their content via channel memberships, merch, Super Chat, Super Sticker or premium subscription to Youtube.

In short, Youtube or the social media platform (such as Tik Tok or Instagram) pays the creator when they can advertise their client ads on the creator’s video so that they can earn advertisement fee from the ads payer.

How does Youtuber/Influencer get taxed?

Creator may receive payment directly into their personal bank account. The sum banked in is actually taxable under the Income Tax Act 1967 (“ITA 1967”). You may be surprised as you are not working for any company yet your received income is subjected to tax.

Under section 4(f) of the ITA 1967, it is considered as “other income“. Section 4(f) is a catch all provision for any form of income that the creator may receive. If the creator has a permanent job with a company, the income received is considered as the creator’s employment income under section 4(b). The creator will need to add up both incomes to arrive at its final adjusted incomefor that particular year of assessment, and then to submit to the Inland Revenue Board (“IRB”).

What if Youtuber/Influencer understated their income?

If the submission of tax return (Form EA) states a wrong tax submission or understating any income (“incorrect return”), the creator may be subjected to penalty. At a minimum level, it may be penalty in the form of 45 per cent of its original figure to be paid to the IRB. Maximum penalty rate can go up to 100 per cent from the understated income.

One Content Creation by difference Youtuber/Influencers

If the content is created by 4 creators, but payment is made to one direct account, then the income received may become an issue. Who is then to pay the tax? Is it the registered individual bank account holder who received the payment from youtube is to pay off all the taxes for the income received? Is the tax be paid as if it is an individual personal income threshold? 

How can Youtuber/Influencer deduct their expenses?

As creator, he or she needs to appear pretty and handsome. The creator may engage a make up artist to bring their best look infront of the viewers. The creator may also need to engage its photographer, video editor and social media marketer. All these expenses may not be deducted under his own personal income received. A legal entity is required such as Sdn Bhd and LLP.


It is proposed that it is high time for youtuber/influencer to looking forward for some tax planning for them. They can consider forming a legal entity such as Sdn Bhd or Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”). Currently Company Act 2016 allows for the incorporation of a one-person company to maximise their revenue.If need, as the revenue generated by Creator via their social media platform increases by quantum leap. with the amount of fans and viewers, they will need to have a proper documentation for their variable costs (ie, employee, offices and etc) that will be incurred so that they can justify to inland revenue board for tax deduction when they are being audited.

With IRB’s big data system at hand, it is sooner or later, that Youtuber will be the next fish to be catch within the radar of IRB.

Authored by Dylan Chong, Partner from JR Ng & Chin who specialises in tax appeal (Income Tax, Real Property Gains Tax, Service and Sales Tax, Custom Duties) and tax planning for companies’ directors and individuals. You may contact him at

The contents of this publication are given as general information for reference purposes only and do not constitute the firm’s legal advice. For any specific matter or legal issue, please do not rely on this publication but make sure to consult a legal adviser. We would be delighted to answer your questions, if any.

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