POGO tax can raise up to P20 billion for government, solon says

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2019 09:47 AM

MANILA -- The head of the House of Representatives' tax-writing body said Wednesday he was seeking a 5-percent tax on gross receipts of offshore gaming firms and a 15-percent income tax on its employees.

With the 5-percent tax, the government can collect P20 billion from POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations this year, compared to P8 billion last year that was based on a 2-percent regulatory fee, said Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.

"A clear, definitive tax regime for POGOs will be a potent revenue source, as well as a means of placing these facilities under stricter oversight," Salceda said in the explanatory note of his draft bill.

"Failure to faithfully report revenues and expenses will now unequivocally constitute tax evasion," he said.

In an interview with ANC's Early Edition, Salceda said taxing POGOs would be done "judiciously, so that we will earn more from it." Only 10 of 60 registered POGOs pay taxes, he said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier said a 5-percent tax on POGO revenues was a "good idea," as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) cracked down on the industry for tax compliance.

The government so far collected P1.63 billion in withholding taxes from POGOs from January to August, the Department of Finance said, citing BIR data.

These online gaming firms paid P175 million in withholding taxes in 2017 and P579 million in 2018, the DOF said.