Pay proper taxes, Pagcor tells online gaming firms
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) warns erring online gaming firms against underdeclaring their tax obligations to the government, saying they face increased scrutiny by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to ensure compliance with the law.
In a statement, the Pagcor vice president, Jose Tria Jr., said firms in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators industry must also comply with the agency’s directive issued last February requiring the submission of all employees’ names, their salaries, and visa status.
The reminder comes amid a government move to tighten regulations in the online gaming industry, including the entry of a large number of workers from China employed by the industry, as well as questions as to whether the correct amount of income taxes are collected from them.
“Let this serve as a final warning for everyone to strictly comply with all the rules, regulations and directives of all other government agencies which may have jurisdiction over the other aspects of your operations,” Tria said.
He said these other aspects of the operations of gaming firms include applications for the necessary and appropriate visas or permits for all their employees and payment of proper taxes and fees due to government agencies.
“Finally, for those under-declaring the income tax of their employees, be sternly warned that you will be placed under strict scrutiny by the Bureau of Internal Revenue for such actions,” said Tria, who also serves as special assistant to Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo. “The practice of declaring income tax below industry standards will not be tolerated by the BIR and will be dealt with accordingly.”
Online gaming firms that need to clarify these regulations were urged to confer with the gaming regulator.
Earlier, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said foreigner working for online gaming firms stood at approximately 138,000 and were included in an initial list of employees in internet-based operations and other firms.
In their reports to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOLE and the Bureau of Immigration came up with a reconciled list of 138,001 workers, of which 54,241 were issued alien employment permits and another 83,760 granted special working permits.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said the agency had been working on the list to check how many years these workers have been here in the country and whether they have paid taxes for the last two taxable years.
He said Pagcor has so far submitted a list of 126 of 205 online gaming firms, employing 53,239 foreign workers with an average salary of P41,000 each. Regular workers manning call center operations and chat rooms are reportedly paid average monthly salaries of P40,000 to P50,000, supervisors up to P75,000 and managers up to P100,000.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.