BIR To Use “Big Data” To Identify Big-time Online Sellers, Influencers

BIR: “We will use big data analysis from the social media data and identify big time online sellers and influencers.”

BIR — The Bureau of Internal Revenue will use “big data analysis from the social media data” to identify big-time online sellers and influencers.

Photo source: ABS-CBN News

The tax bureau has asserted that the agency is really determined to collect taxes from prominent influencers.

BIR Commissioner Lilia C. Guillermo said during the SGV Tax Symposium on August 19 that “big data” holds immense possibilities for tax administration, thus, the tax bureau would use those datasets to go after big-time online sellers, influencers, and online businesses.

We will use big data analytics for processing of big data. There were complaints that we are not after those influencers, online sellers, and online businesses,” Guillermo said. “We will use big data analysis from the social media data and identify big time online sellers and influencers.

Incoming BIR Commissioner Lilia Guillermo
Photo source: Manila Bulletin

Guillermo’s pronouncement comes after Senator Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo lashed out at the tax bureau, saying that the agency must focus on the “big fish” and not on some “small fry” if the agency really wants to collect serious money via taxation.

The senator slammed the tax bureau following complaints from a social media influencer and an online seller that some BIR agents visited their homes and knocked on their doors to inquire about their tax payments.

To recall, it was in September last year when the tax bureau said it was looking into an initial 250 top earning social media influencers to check if they have been paying their taxes.

Also, Letters of Authority (LOAs) for the conduct of investigation were issued to certain social media influencers found to be “top earners” in their field.

READ ALSO: Incoming BIR Commissioner Eyes Lifestyle Checks On Professionals, Social Media Influencers

The tax bureau said that social media influencers who earned money from their posts on digital media are classified as “self-employed” individuals or persons engaged in business or trade as sole proprietors.

As defined under the tax bureau’s Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 97-2021 issued last August 16, 2021, their earnings are generally considered as “business income”.

Under RMC 97-2021 issued last year, social media influencers should pay percentage tax and income tax or, if applicable, the value-added tax (VAT), as mandated under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and other existing laws.

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