MANILA – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto on Friday said Chinese workers in the Philippines must pay income taxes, as the government aims to raise revenues to fund vital programs.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez estimated that the Bureau of Internal Revenue could collect at least P2 billion per month from at least 100,000 offshore gaming workers.
Recto said government must first collect taxes properly before raising rates or levying new ones.
“The BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) can’t be strict on Filipinos when it comes to paying taxes, by withholding these at source, while allowing foreign nationals a free pass,” Recto said in a statement.
Recto added the government must not only tax Chinese workers in the online gaming business, but in other industries as well, such as construction.
He said for this to happen, a “tax base” from data pooled from the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor and Employment, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and the various special economic zones must be assembled first.
He noted that Filipino workers and professionals paid P370 billion in income tax in 2017, representing 20 percent of tax paid.
“For every 5 pesos tax paid, 1 peso comes from individual income earners,” he said.
Besides income taxes, POGO workers are also supposed to pay SSS, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth contributions.
Most of the workers in the sector are foreigners from mainland China.