POGOs should be taxed, says Duterte spokesperson

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2019 11:32 AM

An offshore gaming interface is displayed at an industry expo in Manila. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA- Offshore gaming operations should be taxed, Malacañang said Tuesday after the government’s chief lawyer said levies could not be imposed on the industry.

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGOs are subject to the country's tax laws, whether registered as domestic or foreign companies, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“This Administration will not be stymied nor estopped by technicalities caused by the exploitation of developing technologies in collecting what is due the government,” Panelo said in a statement.

Under the National Internal Revenue Code, the income of online casinos registered as domestic corporations is taxed as a whole while POGOs considered as foreign corporations are only taxed on income that is generated within the country.

Panelo also called on the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to evaluate the country’s tax laws to ensure that proper dues are imposed on POGOs.

“With this, we trust that the DOF, together with the BIR, has the competence to evaluate the respective charters and operations of these entities in order to subject them to Philippine taxes in accordance with the law,” he said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said POGOs must pay corporate income taxes and their workers’ personal income taxes.

“Since POGOs are providing services to their counterparts in the Philippines, they are subject to income tax,” Dominguez told reporters Monday, adding that POGOs should also pay value-added tax (VAT).

The BIR in 2017 issued a circular taxing POGOs licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor)