A TOP official of the Department of Finance (DOF) has instructed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to set up a unit dedicated to tracking sales of goods done online and to coordinate with their counterparts in other countries to determine how to properly tax these digital transactions.

BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay said he has already discussed with the Bureau’s National Investigation Division how this can be done, initially through a task force that will monitor the sales of goods and services done through the Internet.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the BIR should consult with its counterparts in Russia or Korea, to find out how to properly and effectively tax digital transactions.

“We have to catch up with these guys,” Dominguez said during a recent DOF executive committee meeting, referring to the surge in online sellers as most consumers have turned to buying goods via digital platforms amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Apart from online sellers, the BIR is also keeping tabs on the tax compliance of social media “influencers” in the country.

Earlier, the BIR said it will investigate an initial list of 250 “influencers” to check if they have been paying their taxes.

According to the BIR, social media influencers who earn money from their posts on digital media are classified as self-employed individuals or persons engaged in trade or business as sole proprietors.

Their earnings are generally considered business income, as defined under BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Circular 97-2021 issued on Aug. 16. (KOC with PR)