The Philippine Star
BIR sees higher POGO compliance amid stricter enforcement
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said more Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and their service providers are starting to remit proper taxes to the government amid the intensified crackdown against delinquent operators.
In an interview, Internal Revenue deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said withholding tax collections from the POGO industry from January to August had already reached P1.63 billion.
This is higher than the initial data reported by the BIR to the DOF, which was previously at P1.4 billion.
“The collection is improving because they know we are doing our enforcement activity. As you know our dialogue with them has already lapsed. We sent them notices but they are not complying,” Guballa said.
Moreover, the BIR official said more firms had reached out to the BIR following the temporary closure of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp., who committed to pay P1.3 billion in tax deficiencies to the government.
“Yes (more have reached out). They are afraid,” he said.
According to Guballa, the BIR is now monitoring 218 POGO service providers who employ 108,914 foreign workers.
He said the taxpayer registration and issuance of tax identification numbers (TIN) to these foreign employees are ongoing.
The DOF estimates that the government would be able to generate about P2 billion in additional revenues a month from the withholding tax of foreign workers in the POGO sector.
Earlier, the BIR reported that it had already sent 130 letter notices to delinquent POGO service providers with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion.
But Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said some of these companies continued to ignore the agency’s warnings despite the issuance of demand letters.
Dominguez then ordered the BIR to padlock POGO firms and their service providers who continue to fail in withholding and remitting taxes for their employees and to file the appropriate charges against them.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. said it has measures in place to ensure that offshore gaming firms would be held accountable should they fail to pay their obligations to the government.