Hontiveros on gov’t collecting unpaid taxes of POGO: ‘How much, sis?’

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Senator Risa on Wednesday asked Palace how much of the unpaid taxes of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have been collected by the government.

“Diyan sa sinabi ng gobyerno na nagbabayad naman na ang , gusto ko silang i-text, ‘How much, sis?'” Hontiveros said in an online webinar.

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According to the Senator, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) itself admitted in May that none of the registered POGOs had settled their unpaid taxes.

“How much na ba talaga ang ibinayad ng POGO sa P50 billion na utang nila? Bawal i-pm ha. Tapatan na. Talaga bang nagbabayad na sila at magkano na ang nabayad?” the senator asked.

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

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) required “online sellers” or those facilitating business transactions through electronic or digital means to register and pay their taxes.

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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.

“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.

Hontiveros urged the BIR to withdraw the said order even if Palace clarified that only those with more than P250,000 annual revenue should register and pay taxes to BIR.

“Naging magulo para sa mga online sellers ang memo mula sa BIR. Mabuti pang bawiin, i-review, at i-rewrite muna ng ahensiya ang guidelines na nilabas nila,” she said.

“As of today, RMC 60-2020 is still enforceable. Strictly speaking, its text still mandates all, including small online sellers, to register with the BIR. Magandang magdeklara muna ang BIR ng moratorium sa pagpapa-register ng online sellers at bawiin muna ang mga guidelines sa ilalim ng RMC 60-2020, habang nasa panahon tayo ng krisis,” she added.

Hontiveros stressed out that if the current circular were implemented, online sellers would spend at least P2,260 each just to register.

DTI certification, BIR’s own registration fee, and payment for printing of receipts will cost roughly P2,260 in total,” she said.

“May dagdag-gastos din na at least P1,500 kung magpapa-imprenta ulit ng resibo. May pwedeng dagdag-gastos din sa pag-file ng financial report quarterly. Mahirap’ yan para sa isang small-time online seller na dapat ay may proper documentation na ang kita niya ay less than P250,000 annually,” Hontiveros added.

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