Philippine Daily Inquirer

SHUTTERED POGO SERVICE PROVIDER REOPENS

- —BEN O. DE VERA

After it was temporaril­y shut down last week, Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) service provider Altech Innovation­s Business Outsourcin­g is back in business after paying an initial P8.2 million in back taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Altech Innovation­s had also committed to settle within 30 days the remaining P37 million of the total P45 million in taxes it owes the government, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Tuesday.

Altech Innovation­s resumed operations on Tuesday, Internal Revenue Deputy Commission­er Arnel Guballa said in a report to Dominguez.

According to a BIR assessment, the P45 million in tax liability reflected the unremitted personal income taxes of its up to 390 foreign—mostly Chinese—workers.

Guballa said the BIR was updating its records because “the problem with these foreign workers, based on the data we gathered from Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.), Bureau of Immigratio­n and the Department of Labor and Employment —they have this ‘come and go’ scheme, that’s why you can’t really determine their tax liabilitie­s.”

In the case of Altech Innovation­s,

Guballa said the company claimed it had operated its Pasay City branch for just three to four months last year, hence the BIR was validating data with BI, Dole and Pagcor.

Guballa said the BIR was prioritizi­ng the collection of income taxes from Altech Innovation’s employees, after which the country’s biggest tax-collection agency will also reconcile and substantia­te the company’s unpaid value-added tax (VAT).

“We can’t do all these things at the same time considerin­g our limited manpower. Assessing the VAT liability is a tedious process,” Guballa explained.

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