Gov’t nets P200M from Pogo workers
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has collected only P200 million from foreigners—mostly Chinese—working in the Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) sector in July, the first month that the government mandated automatic withholding of personal income taxes from them.
On the sidelines of the BIR’s 115th anniversary celebrations last week, Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said they collected those income taxes from employees of six Pogos last month.
While Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier said they could collect P2 billion a month in taxes from Pogo workers, Guballa said the collections in July were just “the start” as they expected the amount to snowball later on, especially when the previously unregistered employees finally secure their tax identification numbers (TINs).
In his speech before BIR employees, Dominguez said: “We should also make sure that every taxpayer is treated fairly. We will go after foreign nationals and the employers, such as those in the Pogo industry, who fail to withhold and remit their contributions to pay for the public goods and services that we all use and enjoy.”
Updates on the government’s move to collect personal income taxes from Pogo workers will be presented to President Duterte during today’s (Aug. 5, Monday) Cabinet meeting.
However, Department of Finance (DOF) officials had also admitted that the BIR was having difficulty in issuing TINs at a faster pace and bigger volume than usual.
As of last month, the BIR issued only 10,000 TINs to previously unregistered Pogo workers in the cities of Manila, Parañaque and Pasay even as there were as many as 130,000 of them.
The DOF nonetheless had pointed out that Pogos must already withhold the monthly 25-percent personal income tax due from their employees—including those without TINs yet—then remit the taxes to the BIR as soon as the workers are registered with the agency.
An interagency joint memorandum circular issued last month also mandated all incoming foreign workers to first secure visas, working permits and TINs to ensure that they would pay the correct amount of personal income taxes.
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