September 15, 2019 – The Department of Finance (DOF) on Sunday has ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to shut down Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) that have failed to comply with Philippine tax liabilities of their foreign workers.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III issued the directive after learning from the BIR during a meeting of slow collection of taxes from POGOs.
“Why don’t we start closing them down so they will answer these assessments,” Dominguez said.
“Those who don’t pay or respond to your assessments, clamp them down,” he added.
The finance department pointed out that the tax liabilities of POGOs have so far amounted to P21.62 billion despite the issuance of 130 letter-notices.
POGO service providers paid P175 million in withholding taxes in 2017 and P579 million in 2018, it added.
BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa revealed during the meeting that the BIR has so far collected P1.4 billion from POGOs from January to August 2019.
Guballa said that BIR has asked the assistance of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) as his office cannot do the job of closing down POGOs alone.
Furthermore, Dominguez has also directed the BIR to ensure that the payment of the tax liabilities should account for each foreign worker in POGOs and to reject any “lump sum” offer or any other arrangement.
“The collection should be per individual.” You force the issue and you bring them to court. I mean, close them down,” the finance secretary said.