August 05, 2019
FOREIGN workers of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) have paid about P200 million in personal income taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), according to its chief.
“They (POGO workers) are already paying (their income taxes),” BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said in an interview late last week.
This comes after the tax bureau reported that it had issued an initial 10,000 tax identification numbers to these workers after issuing notices to employers.
“Initially, we collected about P200 million (in taxes),” BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said.
While not disclosing on how many individuals have paid, Guballa said these workers came from six POGO firms.
The POGO sector has been the subject of government scrutiny after investigations revealed that it has become a conduit for undocumented workers from China.
Since they are undocumented, these foreign workers are also not paying taxes to the government.
The BIR said it had matched the list of foreigners hired by local companies with records provided by government agencies, which showed big discrepancies on the number of foreigners employed and reported by them to the bureau.
Most of these foreign workers, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd had said, are from the 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 POGO companies to the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
For its part, Pagcor earlier called for the fair implementation of government rules on the offshore gaming sector as the agency is bullish on hitting its P8-billion target revenue from the industry this year.
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