NEDA wants POGOs taxed, Angara says

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2019 06:03 AM

MANILA—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday opposed the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) opinion that online casinos or Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) could not be taxed. 

“In fact, they [NEDA execs] want to tax that sector,” said Senate finance committee chair Sen. Sonny Angara during budget deliberations for NEDA’s P10.66-billion proposed 2020 allocation.

“I was told by both Sec. [Ernesto] Pernia and Presidential Adviser [Vince] Dizon that they do not agree to that (OSG opinion that POGOs cannot be taxed), that is not a national policy,” he added. 

Angara said NEDA officials were set to discuss with the OSG the issue on taxing POGOs due to the “difference in opinion,” stressing that NEDA was “informed only today [Monday]” about the OSG opinion.

“They [NEDA exces] are consistent in saying [the industry] has to be taxed.”

Sen. Joel Villanueva also said there was “a need to regulate POGOs,” given reports of money laundering, criminality, among others.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also told reporters Monday that POGOs must pay corporate income taxes and their workers’ personal income taxes.

“The BIR issued an opinion to this effect months ago saying that the status of income is where the services are rendered," he said.

“Thus, since Pogos are providing services to their counterparts in the Philippines, they are subject to income tax,” Dominguez told reporters, adding that POGOs should also pay value-added tax (VAT). 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue issued a circular in 2017 taxing POGOs licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

Revenue from POGO operations in 2020 is expected to reach P10 billion.