P6.42 billion taxes collected from POGOs in 2019: finance dept.

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2020 01:17 PM

Phil-Asian Gaming Expo features offshore games targetting bettors outside the Philippines. Games can be played on desktop or mobile devices. Photos taken at the SMX Convention Center. July 12, 2019. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines collected some P6.42 billion taxes from offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and their service providers in 2019, the Department of Finance said Sunday.

The figure was more than double its collection of P2.38 billion in 2018, the agency said in a statement.

"This increased tax take was the result of a sustained campaign spearheaded by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to crack down on errant POGOs and their service providers," the statement said.

It said that P5.13 billion was collected last year in withholding taxes, P644.07 million in income taxes, P91.13 million in value-added taxes (VAT) and percentage taxes, P81.11 million in documentary stamp taxes and P469.13 million in other taxes.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue had sought to collect P27.35 billion in tax liabilities from errant POGOs in 2019, and targeted to collect at least P2 billion per month, the statement said.

The bureau has taken action against at least 4 POGO service providers due to failure to register and various tax violations.

It shut down New Oriental Club 88 Corporation, the country's biggest POGO service provider, last year, and the Pasig City branch of Xpoint Technology Philippines Corp. early this month for failing to register their operations.

The following were flagged down, but were allowed to resume operations after settling their backtaxes: The Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. and Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing, headquartered in Quezon City and Paranaque City, respectively.

The statement said there are 108,914 foreigners employed by 218 POGO service providers. A joint memorandum circular signed last year by various government agencies requires foreign workers to secure Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) before they are granted work permits.

Dominguez is supporting proposals to impose additional 5 percent franchise tax and 15 percent tax on the salary of a foreign worker employed by a licensed POGO.