POGOs’ tax compliance improves
The tax compliance of online gaming operators and their service providers continue to show improvements every month amid the strict enforcement activities of the government, a tax official said.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) initially reported that its preliminary income tax collection from Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) foreign workers reached P1.4 billion as of August this year.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said this amount further increased by an additional P230 million to P1.63 billion.
“Our collection is improving because they know that we’re doing enforcement activity. As you know, our dialogue with them had lapsed, we sent them notices and they are not complying, so we did the raid,” Guballa told reporters in an interview late last week.
He added other POGO service providers had reached out after the agency conducted its raid on Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. that yielded P1.3 billion in tax payment.
For September, the BIR official expects that withholding tax remittance will sustain its growth following the recent closure of a tax-dodging POGO service provider operating in Quezon City, Paranaque and Pampanga that created “fear” among operators.
Guballa also said the tax bureau already monitored 218 POGO service providers operating in the country with exactly 108,914 foreign employees who are mostly Chinese.
Asked about the status of the tax identification numbers (TIN) for foreign workers, he noted the BIR has an ongoing process to provide the pre-employment requirement for the application of a work permit.
Based on BIR monitoring in coordination with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) as well as the Bureau of Immigration (BI), foreign worker employee turnover rate in the POGO industry is relatively high.
With this, Guballa said the BIR continuously needs to process new TINs for incoming POGO workers, adding processing the application forms were also difficult as some Chinese names were similar or sounded alike.
For his part, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said the BIR will squeeze all POGO service providers that remain non-compliant with tax laws and regulations despite several notices.
Dominguez also stressed the ongoing BIR campaign against unscrupulous POGOs would benefit not only the government’s revenue collection, but also Pagcor as the gaming regulator, the BI as well as the Department of Labor and Employment.