POGOs owe gov’t P3 B in taxes – BIR
By Joann Villanueva
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued new batches of notices to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) billing them for unpaid taxes amounting to about P3 billion.
This was disclosed by BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay after the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) that spelled out the rules to be strictly imposed on foreign nationals working in the Philippines.
The new notices are on top of the P4.4 billion that were earlier sent to POGO companies for their mostly Chinese workers who were found to be unregistered and not paying income taxes.
Dulay said the drive to determine how many unregistered POGO workers are in the country today is ongoing, with the help of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI), among other agencies.
He said the latest notices were for deficient taxes of employees who are already covered by their employers.
He said the employers remitted taxes but it was later found out that they had misdeclared the number of their workers.
“That’s where we started moving. We got names also, and we sent letters to the operators,” he said.
Dulay said they will “use the arm of the law to force them (POGO operators and foreign workers) to pay.”
“If they do not pay then we’ll close their operations for violation of the tax laws,” he said.
The BIR chief said the inter-agency measure to identify the workers and look for those who remain unregistered continues.
“We are working on that. I think we have a few companies already identified,” he said.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said government intends to collect an estimated P32 billion from unregistered POGO industry workers based on the assumption that there are about 138,000 of them who earn about 10,000 renminbi (about USD1,500) a month.
He said the 10,000-renminbi monthly pay is based on the offer announced by gaming operators in China to entice workers to work in their companies operating in the Philippines. (First published in PNA)