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POGOs told to settle tax debts before operations

 

The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) will be allowed to resume operations once they agreed to settle their multi-million-peso tax debts.

This is one of the conditions set by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for online gambling companies to restart the business.

POGOs must submit “notarized undertaking to pay all tax arrears for the previous years,” said Revenue Deputy Commissioner for Operations Arnel Guballa in a memorandum.

The memorandum implemented BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay’s Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 46-2020.

The circular listed the requirements for POGO to get a BIR clearance.

It included the submission of income and franchise tax returns filed in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020 with proof of payments, particularly the remittance of the final withholding tax (FWT) due from the salaries of foreign workers.

The BIR derived the bulk of its income from FWT as it imposes the high 25-income tax rate on the wages of hundreds of thousands of POGO alien employees.

The government raised last year more than P46 billion in taxes and license fees from this sector.

It was not immediately known how many of the estimated 200 POGOs have outstanding tax liabilities.

But insiders disclosed that a number of deficiency tax assessment notices has already been sent out to POGOs even before the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporations (Pagcor) had earlier given the go-signal for the reopening of the online gambling business to raise additional funds to battle the health crisis.

But it required them to secure a BIR clearance before restarting operations.

Dulay warned that submission of falsified or incomplete documents will result in the automatic denial of such application.

All applications shall be submitted to pogo.taskforce @bir.gov.ph. (Jun Ramirez)

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