POGOs must pay correct taxes to resume operation – BIR

Published May 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) licensees and service providers are required to pay correct taxes before they resume operation, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said.

This is part of the BIR guidelines and requirements that online casino companies need to meet before they will be allowed to resume operations in the country.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said POGO licensees and service providers should properly register and pay correct amount of income taxes and franchise fees to the government.

Failing to meet BIR guidelines and requirements, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III warned would result in continued suspension of their operations during the quarantine period.

According to the BIR, POGO licensees or operators should first show proof that they have already paid their 2019 franchise taxes, withholding taxes due for January to April this year, as well as the first quarter payments of 2020 franchise tax. POGO service providers, meanwhile, are similarly required to submit proof that they have paid their 2019 income taxes; and remitted and paid withholding taxes for January to April this year, including the 25 percent final withholding tax due from their foreign employees.

Tax-compliant POGO service providers would not be issued tax clearances by the BIR should their POGO operators or licensees fail to comply with the bureau’s new requirements, Dominguez said.

All POGOs should also submit a notarized undertaking affirming their commitment to pay all tax arrears for prior years of their operations and should be registered with the respective Revenue District Office (RDOs) having jurisdiction over their places of business.

“Failure to comply with any of the [requirements] will result in the denial of the issuance of a BIR Clearance for resumption of operations,” stated the Guidelines and Requirements issued BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa.

The Guidelines and Requirements issued on May 6 also stated that “the application of a Service Provider for the issuance of a BIR Clearance shall not be approved in case its POGO Licensee failed to comply with the BIR requirements for BIR Clearance.”

Dominguez earlier made it clear that no POGO operator or service provider would be allowed to operate again “unless they are compliant with all government laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those involving health and taxation.”

Aside from securing a clearance from the BIR, POGOs and their service providers must also strictly adhere to the government’s safety and health protocols.

These include limited operations per shift, shuttle services for employees, regular body temperature checks and disinfection within the workplace, social distancing and wearing of masks, among other measures to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus.