POGOs told to act on BIR demand letters

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    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has warned anew delinquent Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) service providers to comply with tax regulations as it moves to crack down on violators.

    “(They should) cooperate and volunteer to pay. The problem is they don’t respond to our demand letters,” Caesar Dulay, BIR commissioner, told reporters over the weekend.

    Dulay said service providers that continue to ignore the agency’s demand letters should be prepared to incur losses should they be issued a closure order.

    Late last month, the BIR shut down the operations of a POGO service provider. It lifted the suspension last week after the company agreed to settle the estimated P1.3-billion tax assessment.

    The BIR earlier shutdown the operations of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. (GEGAC) for lack of registration for value-added tax purposes.

    Its main office is registered in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority so it was enjoying tax preferential treatment but was actually operating two other offices in Metro Manila.

    Dulay said GEGAC paid an initial P250 million for the lifting of the closure order because “they cannot afford to be closed for long.”

    The balance will be paid in three months up to end December in post-dated checks, the tax chief said.

    GEGAC is also required to update withholding tax payments and register its employees.
    Previously, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) expressed its full support to the government in cracking the whip on POGOs that are delinquent in the payment of taxes.

    PAGCOR said last month it is fully cognizant of the legal authority of the BIR to close down tax-evading establishments.

    “Among the measures being implemented by the state-run gaming firm to hold POGO licensees accountable should they renege on their financial obligation are the imposition of interest on outstanding arrears, forfeiture of performance bond, imposition of demerits/administrative sanctions and charging of cash penalty, cancellation of license and endorsement to legal division for proper collection efforts,” Pagcor said.