Majority of licensed Pogos failed to pay P50B in taxes in 2019 — BIR official
MANILA, Philippines — Majority of the 60 licensed Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) failed to pay the government an estimated total of P50 billion in withholding income and franchise taxes in 2019, an official from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) told senators Tuesday.
During the Senate labor committee hearing into the influx of illegal Pogo workers in the country, Atty. Sixto Dy Jr. from the BIR Office of the Deputy Commission for Operations disclosed that all foreign-based Pogo licensees are not paying their franchise tax.
At present, there are 60 Pogos licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
Of this number, 50 are online casino operators based abroad while 10 are Philippine-based.
“One hundred percent of the offshore-based licensees are not paying franchise tax. All of them,” Dy told the Senate panel.
“Pagcor collected P8 billion at least as regulatory fee…that’s only two percent (of the operator’s gross gaming revenue). If it’s franchise tax of 5 percent, that would be at least 17 to 18 billion,” he added.
Aside from the issues regarding the payment of franchise tax, Dy said the BIR was only able to collect P5 billion in 2019.
The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier projected the government withholding tax collection from Pogos at P2.5 billion or P3 billion per month.
“That’s almost P30 billion,” Dy pointed out.
Adding the total of the projected withholding and franchise tax collection, Dy said the BIR should have collected an estimated total of P50 billion from these online gaming operators in 2019.
He then said that the BIR plans “to go after” these operators who failed to pay their taxes to the government.
“Those who did not pay, the bureau intends to issue letters of authority to audit them,” he added.
For Pagcor’s part, its Vice President for corporate social responsibility group James Bondoc assured senators that they will also investigate the matter.
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