Guballa said the Task Force POGO led by the Department of Finance (DOF) shut down operations of the POGO service provider for not paying value added tax (VAT) in violation of Section 115(b) in relation to Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code.
Vallery Hache/AFP
BIR padlocks another POGO
Lawrence Agcaoili, Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The government continued its crackdown on unregistered Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shut down yesterday another service provider for tax evasion amounting to around P100 million.

A team led by Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino and BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa padlocked the head office of Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing located at Aseana City in Parañaque and its branch in Pasay City.

“It is not fair to Filipino taxpayers that every month they get their salaries with tax deduction while foreigners like POGO workers are not paying taxes. It is a fair implementation of the law,” Lambino said.

The firm is a single proprietorship owned by Jan Erick Lavariaz Altavas and employs about 1,000 Chinese workers.

Guballa said the Task Force POGO led by the Department of Finance (DOF) shut down operations of the POGO service provider for not paying value added tax (VAT) in violation of Section 115(b) in relation to Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code.

“The company is not registered with the BIR as taxpayer. So we have to close this POGO establishment,” he said.

Guballa said their estimates showed that Altech has a tax deficiency of at least P100 million.

“We will wait for their documents to be presented to us. It will run to hundreds of millions but there is no exact figure yet,” he said.

According to the BIR official, the closure order would be lifted provided the company complies with conditions given by the BIR.

Last month, the task force padlocked the office of the Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. in Libis, Quezon City for failing to pay P1.3 billion in tax deficiencies to the government.

“This is our continuing crackdown on POGOs,” Guballa said.

The BIR said more POGOs and their service providers are starting to remit proper taxes to the government amid the intensified crackdown against delinquent operators.

Records from the BIR showed that P1.63 billion in revenues were withheld from the POGO industry in the first eight months of the year,

Guballa earlier said their tax collection is improving because of aggressive operations against POGOs.

The BIR is monitoring 218 POGO service providers employing 108,914 foreign workers, mostly Chinese. At least 130 notices have been sent to delinquent POGO service providers with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion.

The DOF estimates that the government would be able to generate about P2 billion in additional revenues per month from the withholding tax of foreign workers in the POGO sector.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has given assurance that offshore gaming firms would be held accountable should they fail to pay their tax obligations to the government. 

 

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