BIR chief says will go after big-time online sellers only, seeks help of Shopee, Lazada

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2022 02:52 PM

 The Bureau of Internal Revenue's central office in Quezon City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
The Bureau of Internal Revenue's central office in Quezon City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Lilia Guillermo has clarified that the agency will only go after big-time online sellers. 

This, after Sen. Raffy Tulfo told the BIR to run after smugglers, instead of small social-media influencers and sellers.

At the sidelines of the SGV Tax Symposium in Makati, Guillermo said that in the coming weeks, they will again begin to monitor those who sell online, particularly on shopping apps. She added that they will only run after the big sellers, and that she has sought the help of Shopee and Lazada.

Though she did not give details of what constitutes a large online seller, she said social media has a lot of data they can collect, including the number of likes and followers.

She also revealed that the BIR will hold a summit with Shopee and Lazada in September to discuss a possible partnership to determine the sales of sellers. She said they may be able to tap into the online providers' system.

"Medyo ngayon parang ayaw pa nila magbigay ng data sa amin, kasi privacy daw. But I think there's no privacy law na inaano [violate] natin," said Guillermo.

(As of now, they're hesitant to share data with us, citing privacy laws. But I think there's no privacy law that's being violated.)

The BIR chief added they will embark on digitalization efforts, and they have already trained some statisticians to become data scientists or cybersecurity experts. 

She admitted it would be hard for now to hire such experts as there are no plantilla positions yet, so they will be training internally or hiring consultants.

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