Philippines: Pagcor warns POGO to pay proper taxes

  • The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has warned offshore gaming operators to comply with government regulations and pay proper taxes, especially with the government intensifying its monitoring and enforcement measures.
  • Jose Tria Jr., PAGCOR’s Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) vice president, issued the warning against erring online gaming firms and informed them that concerned government agencies are closely monitoring how they conduct business in the country.
  • Tria, who is also the concurrent special assistant to the PAGCOR chairman, urged POGO to approach the agency should they need any clarification on existing regulations.
  • On 19 Feb 19, PAGCOR issued a directive which orders POGO to submit lists containing the names of all their employees, with the corresponding salaries and visa status.
  • During an inter-agency meeting held recently, Victor Padilla, senior manager of PAGCOR’s Policy Division, Offshore Gaming Licensing Department, said penalties and demerits would be issued to offshore gaming firms that have yet to submit the lists of their respective foreign workers.
  • He said PAGCOR would seize the operations of those that remain non-compliant despite repeated warnings.
  • Currently, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Immigration (BI), PAGCOR and BIR are reconciling the list of foreign workers in the offshore gaming industry in the country.
  • Initially, DOLE and BI came up with a list of 138,001 workers, of which 54,241 were issued alien employment permits and another 83,760 granted special working permits.
  • The BIR said it is also auditing the income taxes that were withheld and remitted by online gaming companies for their foreign workers to check if there are discrepancies.
  • As of May 19, the BIR has determined tax deficiencies amounting to PHP4.44bn from erring online gaming service providers.
  • Estimates from the Department of Finance showed that the government still stands to collect PHP32bn in income taxes annually from some 138,000 foreign workers, particularly in the POGO industry.

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