The Philippine Star

BIR sees higher POGO com­pli­ance amid stricter en­force­ment

- MARY GRACE PADIN Business · Taxes · U.S. Internal Revenue Service · Philippine Amusement and Gaming

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.

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