The tax collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGO has decreased.
According to the BIR, in January they collected P327 million in tax from POGO, which is 68.63 percent lower compared to what was collected here which was more than P1 billion in January 2020.
Based on the collection in January, the BIR expects about P3.92 billion to be collected from POGO in 2021.
This is more than half lower than what was collected from them last year which reached P7.1 billion.
It is said to be due to the closure of some POGOs and the departure of Chinese workers from POGO because they do not want to pay taxes and also due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said that other POGO licensees do not want to pay franchise tax because their operations are not based in the Philippines.
The BIR requested that Congress enact a law to impose a 5-percent tax on the gross gaming receipts of POGOs and also to collect a 25 percent tax on the salaries of foreign pogo workers.
Tax collected from POGOs decreased – BIR
The BIR is also seeking the power to suspend their operations when they do not file an income tax return and when they under-declare sales and revenues.
A POGO, who attended the hearing, replied that they were not opposed to the proposed proposal, especially as it was an opportunity to help the government recover from the failing economy.
On July 2020, BIR has tweaked the tax rules for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) and their service providers. The modifications will allow them to continue operating as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
Pogos and their service providers that are seeking tax clearance will benefit from the changes. A memo from Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay dated May 25 and was posted on the BIR website on Friday shows the new guidelines and requirements for Pogo license holders and service providers.
On the issued Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 64-2020, the list of requirements for Pogo licensees includes registration with the BIR, the five percent franchise tax, remitting, and payment of withholding taxes, and filing of a notarized undertaking to pay tax arrears.