The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has collected an initial P186 million in withholding taxes from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and is getting another P170 million this month in tax payments from these businesses employing foreign nationals.
Citing BIR data, Finance Assistant Secretary Dakila Napao said that of the 48 notices sent out by the bureau to POGOs directing them to pay the withholding taxes of their foreign workers, 22 have either replied or protested the tax assessments.
“The BIR, though, has already collected P186 million from the notices sent out and is set to collect another P170 million moving forward. This started last month and will be collected on Aug. 10,” Napao said.
In a separate report to the President and the Cabinet, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said that for the initial year of operations of POGO service providers in 2017, the BIR collected only P175 million in taxes.
POGO service providers remitted over P579 million in taxes in 2018 and voluntarily paid P789 million in the first half of 2019, Dulay said in his report during a recent Cabinet meeting.
As part of the steps to ensure that POGOs pay the right amount of taxes to the government, a Joint Memorandum Circular JMC) was issued requiring all foreign nationals and their employers or withholding agents to secure a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the BIR as part of the documentary requirements in securing employment permits and visas.
The JMC was signed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), BIR, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) last July 11.
The BIR is now working with the DOLE in developing an interagency database of foreign nationals working in the country to effectively monitor them and ensure that they pay the correct amount of taxes to the government.