Suspended POGO resumes operation

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    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has lifted the suspension of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) after the latter agreed to settle the estimated P1.3-billion tax assessment.

    This paved the way for the resumption of the operation of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. (GEGAC) last Monday, September 30, just five days after it was padlocked last September 25.

    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a text message to reporters he approved the recommendation of the POGO Task Force to lift the suspension order.

    Dominguez said the BIR received payment of P250 million of the P1.3 billion and balance will be paid in three months up to end December in post-dated checks.

    Dominguez said GEGAC is required to update withholding tax payments and register its employees.

    Arnel Guballa, BIR deputy commissioner issued, the order on Sept. 27, 2019 lifting the closure of the business establishments of GEGAC’s offices in Subic, Paranaque and in Libis, Quezon City.

    GEGAC was shut down 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.

    The DOF earlier ordered the shutdown of operations of POGOs and their service providers that fail or refuse to pay the tax liabilities of their foreign workers, and the filing of appropriate cases against these tax-dodging companies.

    There are about 200 POGO service providers in the country

    Dominguez issued the directive to the BIR after the tax agency reported the slow pace of collections of withholding income taxes from POGOs, despite the issuance of 130 letter-notices to these firms with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion combined.