BIR orders Pogo firms to pay P4.4B in Chinese workers’ taxes
MANILA, Philippines–“Pay P4.4 billion in unpaid taxes of your illegal Chinese workers.”
This was Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay’s order to Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) employing foreigners—mostly Chinese who were earlier found to be unregistered, hence not paying income taxes.
In a statement Friday, the BIR said Dulay issued another batch of notices to Pogo companies, asking them to shell out P3.4 billion in withholding taxes.
Dulay earlier issued notices to collect about P1 billion in taxes from other Pogo firms.
“The BIR matched the list of foreigners hired by local companies with the records provided by government agencies which showed big discrepancies on the number of foreigners employed and reported by them to the BIR,” it said.
“Those employers who remain unresponsive will be subjected to a formal investigation and incremental penalties would then be imposed,” the BIR added.
To ensure that all foreign Pogo workers’ income taxes will be collected, the BIR, the Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the departments of Justice (DOJ) and of Labor and Employment (Dole) came up with joint guidelines mandating aliens to secure a tax identification number (TIN) before they can get their working permits
“Calls have been made for a public inquiry into the proliferation of foreign workers in the country. Within its mandate, the BIR remains vigilant and has acted hand-in-hand with other agencies to map out a linkage and framework ensuring that correct taxes are remitted,” according to the country’s biggest tax-collection agency.
This week, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the government was going after an initial 12,000 illegal foreign workers, mostly in the Pogo sector, who are not paying taxes.
The DOF had said the government wanted to collect about P32 billion in unpaid income taxes from foreigners who work in the Pogo industry.
The figure was based on a rough computation by Dominguez on the assumption that about 138,000 foreign workers earned an average of $1,500 per month and paid the 25-percent personal income tax. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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