MANILA - An interagency task force is fast-tracking the compilation of a complete list foreign nationals working for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in a bid to collect an estimated P22 billion in income taxes annually, the Department of Finance said Monday.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the various special economic zones to come up with a comprehensive list of foreign workers in POGOs.
However, a member of the interagency task force found "gaps" in the initial list based on figures submitted during a meeting held last week, the DOF said in a statement.
“We have to get a clear picture here. If we do not have that, how can the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) do its job, which is to collect taxes from everybody so that we are being fair to all Filipinos who are paying their taxes?" Dominguez said.
"In our computations, there is at least P22 billion a year not being collected in the income taxes from these POGO workers who could possibly exceed 100,000 in number,” he added.
Based on initial data, with an average of 515 foreign workers employed in about 200 operators, the government should be collecting income tax from about 103,000 aliens, BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said.
Guballa also said there was a newspaper report in China that revealed foreign workers in POGOs receive an average of 10,000 yuan ($1,500 or P78,000 a month.)
This means that at an average of income tax of 25 percent, there should be about P18,750 a month collected by the BIR for each foreign worker or a total of P22.5 billion of foregone revenues a year, Domiguez said.
“We have to go after these guys because they are not paying taxes. Simple. We hope that everybody will be 100 percent cooperative here so that these guys can get their taxes collected," Dominguez said.
Members of the interagency task force have suggested measures to reconcile the inconsistencies. The task force is set to meet again on March 29, the DOF said.
POGOs have influenced the country's outsourcing landscape with their staff including Chinese nationals occupying prime office and residential spaces.