All gaming firms are required to pay their taxes and Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) are no exception, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this comment after President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday imposed a three-day deadline for delinquent POGOs to settle their tax liabilities or face sanctions.
“Alam naman ng Tsina kung anong legal. Kung ano ang legal, ‘yun na ‘yun. Kailangan sundin natin lahat (China knows what’s legal. What’s legal, that’s it. We all need to comply with it),” Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ.
“Di naman pu-puwede meron tayong exception. Kung kailangan nila magbayad ng buwis, kailangan nila magbayad ng buwis (There are no exceptions. If they need to settle their taxes, they should settle their taxes),” he added.
Panelo, meanwhile, said Duterte had no fears over upsetting China by releasing his order to go after delinquent POGOs.
In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines on Friday, Duterte warned that POGOs, which mostly employ Chinese nationals that would snub his order would face sanctions.
“They are now ordered to register sa BIR at kumuha ng tag number. Now, I’m telling them, POGOs — hindi lang ito Chinese but Filipino, Filipino-Chinese — you better settle that utang (They are now ordered to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and get a tag number. Now, I’m telling them, POGOs — these are not only Chinese but also Filipino, Filipino-Chinese — you better settle those tax liabilities),” Duterte said.
Duterte said he would not tolerate POGOs’ failure to pay proper taxes to the government.
“Sinasabi ko na sa inyo, huwag ninyong lokohin ang Pilipino kasi ang Pilipino hindi luko-luko ‘yan (I am telling you. Do not fool Filipinos because Filipinos are not fools),” he said.
The President’s remarks came after a crackdown against tax-evading POGOS was launched in September with the BIR serving 130 demand letters to firms with tax liabilities amounting to PHP21.62 billion.
To date, BIR has collected PHP1.63 billion in withdrawing taxes from POGOs from January to August this year, after collecting PHP175 million in 2017 and PHP579 million in 2018.
Currently, there are over 200 POGO service providers with over 100,000 foreign workers operating in the Philippines.
Since September, the BIR has already closed down the operations of tax-evading POGO firms Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing, Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp., and New Oriental Club88 for unpaid taxes. (PNA)