Tax take from POGOs improving, says BIR


    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said several Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) service providers have reached out to the agency to comply with tax regulations, thus collections from this sector are already improving.

    This comes after the recent shutdown of POGO service provider Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. (GEGAC). The BIR has lifted the suspension after the company agreed to settle the estimated P1.3-billion tax assessment.

    Arnel Guballa, BIR deputy commissioner, told reporters in a press briefing at the Department of Finance (DOF) office in Manila last week the BIR’s tax collections from POGO foreign workers has amounted to P1.63 billion from January to August of this year.

    The BIR’s collections are expected to have improved from September onwards with the closure activity serving as a fear factor for delinquent POGO service providers.

    “Our collection is improving because they know that we’re doing enforcement activity. As you know our dialogue with them had lapsed. We sent them notices and they are not complying, so we did the raid,” Guballa said.

    Asked if other POGO service providers have reached out after the closure of GEGAC, Guballa said: “Yes, they are afraid that (they will be closed down also).”

    Guballa said based on data of the BIR and other government agencies, there are 218 POGO service providers with 108,914 foreign workers.

    He also said the processing of tax identification numbers of the foreign workers is ongoing.

    “The registration is ongoing… We are continuously counting and tabulating all this,” Guballa said, adding that since most of the foreign workers have Chinese names that were spelled or sounded alike, the processing becomes a bit more difficult.

    Guballa also reported in the press conference that some of the Chinese workers transfer from one service provider to another. This is not allowed, said DOF officials including Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, pointing out that if they have a work permit, they should only be working for the company that sponsored their work visas.

    Dominguez said the ongoing enforcement activity of the BIR against delinquent POGO service providers will not only boost revenues of the agency, but will also benefit other government agencies such as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Bureau of Immigration.