New POGO tax yields P1.2-B in 3 months

The newly enacted Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) taxation law has generated P1.22 billion in additional revenue during its initial months of implementation, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) reported.

Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in September 2021, Republic Act (RA) 11590 or an “Act Taxing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations” took effect last Oct. 9, 2021.

Since then, the BIR said the law that clarified the regulatory and taxation framework for POGOs and their employees was implemented by the agency.

“Despite the pandemic, from October 9, 2021 to December 31, 2021, the BIR has collected a total of P1.22 billion from Offshore Gaming Licensees, their Service Providers, and their employees,” the bureau said.

Per its computation, the BIR said it collected P709.39 million in withholding taxes between Oct. 9 and Dec. 31, 2021, while P409.93 million came from POGOs’ gaming revenues and P89.67 million from income taxes.

In addition, the bureau also raised P5.33 million in value added tax (VAT) or percentage tax, P4.96 million in other taxes and P3.34 million in documentary stamps tax.

“As we already have rules and regulations in place for the POGO industry, we expect POGO operations to continue and we foresee an increase in revenues arising from said activities,” the BIR said.

In October last year, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said tax collection from POGOs is expected to hit P76.2 billion in 2022 to 2023.

From the five percent tax on gross gaming revenues alone, Dominguez estimated that the BIR will generate P35.1 billion during the two-year period, and P41.2 billion from the 25 percent withholding tax on the gross income of foreign employees.

POGOs, however, are still in recovery mode after numerous gaming licensees and their service providers closed shop during the pandemic. This was evident in the thousands of square meters of office space vacated by the POGO sector.

According to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., strict quarantine measures, travel restrictions and confusing tax rules prior to the enactment of the POGO tax law caused the mass exodus of gaming firms during the pandemic.