Roque answers Hontiveros: Gov’t collecting unpaid taxes of POGOS

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque answered the question of Senator Risa Hontiveros and insisted the government has been collecting unpaid taxes of POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, Thursday.

“Sinisingil po natin Senator [Risa] Hontiveros. Hindi po natin sila pinalulusot. Hindi po sila pupuwedeng magbukas hangga’t hindi sila nagbabayad ng kanilang mga buwis,” he said in a televised briefing.

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(We are collecting their taxes, Senator Hontiveros. We don’t allow them to evade taxes. They are not allowed to reopen unless they would pay their taxes.)

Roque added the government is utilizing all sources of funds to address the needs of Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Hontiveros earlier urged the government to collect the unpaid taxes of POGOs instead of going after online sellers. 

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“Imbes na online sellers, baka puwedeng singilin muna ang mga POGO na may P50 billion in unpaid taxes?” Hontiveros said in a statement.

(Instead of targeting online sellers, maybe you should first ask POGOs to pay their P50 billion unpaid taxes?)

“Hindi ‘yung dagdag-perwisyo pa sa sarili nating mga kababayan na kaunti na nga lang ang kita para pandagdag-gastos sa pamilya nila,” she added.

Also read: DTI: Online transactions complaints soar amid ECQ

Online businesses boomed during the lockdown imposed nationwide as people were confined in their homes to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Finance (DOF), through its attached agency BIR, earlier said it is now considering imposing taxes on digital activities such as online sales and streaming services like Netflix.

And yesterday, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) required “online sellers” or those facilitating business transactions through electronic or digital means to register to ensure tax compliance. 

“All persons doing business and earning income in any manner or form, specifically those who are into digital transactions through the use of any electronic platforms and media, and other digital means, to ensure that their businesses are registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 236 of the Tax Code, as amended, and that they are tax compliant,” the BIR said on its Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 60-2020

The order covered not only partner sellers or merchants, but also other stakeholders such as payment gateways, delivery channels, internet service providers, and other facilitators.

Those who will not register their business activity and/or update their registration status on or before July 31, 2020, shall be imposed with a penalty for late registration.

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