July 12, 2019
THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has issued another set of notices that require employers involved in online gaming operations to pay withholding tax discrepancies amounting to about P3 billion.
“We released some more letter notices. That’s worth about another P3 billion (in withholding taxes),” BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay told reporters on Thursday.
The amount is on top of the estimated P4.4-billion total taxes due on notices the bureau issued earlier.
According to the tax bureau, it came up with the said estimates after it matched the list of foreigners hired by local companies with the records provided by government agencies, such as the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration.
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said most of these foreign workers were from the Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) industry, to which the government is losing about P2 billion a month for every 100,000 foreign workers.
At P2 billion a month, the amount of taxes to be collected from the industry would hit P24 billion a year — a revenue source that was non-existent some four or five years ago, before President Rodrigo Duterte handed over control of these POGOs to the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Earlier, the BIR reiterated that foreigners and nonresident aliens planning to work in the country must secure their taxpayer identification number (TIN) after estimates showed that the government was losing billions in income taxes from unregistered foreign workers.
This followed a joint guideline signed by the BIR with the Labor and Justice departments and the Immigration bureau requiring these workers to secure a TIN before they can secure a special working or alien employment permit.
After consolidating data from various agencies, a Department of Finance-led task force has come up with an initial list of some 138,000 foreigners, 54,241 of whom have been given alien employment permits and another 83,760 holding special working permits.
Assuming that each foreign worker earns an average of $1,500 a month and is taxed at 25 percent of his or her gross income, the Finance department came up with a rough estimate of P32 billion a year in income taxes to be collected.
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