The committee on games and amusements will conduct a hearing next week where officials of concerned agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) would be in attendance, its chairman revealed yesterday.
STAR/ File
House to probe POGOs’ P50 billion tax delinquency
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is set to investigate the reported P50-billion tax delinquency of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in the country.

The committee on games and amusements will conduct a hearing next week where officials of concerned agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) would be in attendance, its chairman revealed yesterday.

“Our committee will once again call various agencies to discuss these matters next week. Non-remittance of taxes is tantamount to robbing our government of resources for our people. It is not acceptable and I condemn this in the strongest terms,” panel chair and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap told The STAR.

Asked for possible measures to address the tax delinquency of POGOs, the lawmaker said harsher penalties for erring companies in the industry might do the trick.

“The manual should be revised to increase penalties for certain violations pertaining to taxes and employees to make them compliant in paying their taxes and proper documentation of their foreign workers,” Yap stressed.

Yap said the current point system of Pagcor where erring POGO firms are simply given point deductions or demerits at the start of the license year does not suffice.

“The licensing system should be revisited. We should implement harsher penalties and really enforce revocation of licenses,” he said.

Another lawmaker and fellow ACT-CIS Rep. Niña Taduran supported the move of the panel to conduct an inquiry into the tax compliance of POGOs.

Taduran earlier filed House Resolution 627 calling for a probe on the books of these casinos.

She expressed belief that an inquiry and audit on the gross gaming revenues of these casinos would help ensure right taxes are being paid to the government. 

“We are losing billions in taxes from these POGOs. How were they able to do that?” she asked.

The House panel’s move came after the BIR revealed that all foreign-based POGO licensees are not paying their franchise tax and most of them are not paying the right income tax of their workers.

It estimated as much as P18 billion lost in franchise taxes and at least P30 billion in withholding taxes last year.

Pagcor was only able to collect P8 billion as regulatory fee or two percent of the operator’s gross gaming revenue, according to the BIR’s disclosure.

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