They’ve been told several times to get their act together, but perhaps another warning will really hit home. The Philippines Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) have told the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) once again that if they don’t pay their taxes, they could be in for some big trouble.
The Manila Bulletin reports BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay specifically noted if POGOs don’t start complying with tax demand letters, they may have millions in losses as a result of closures. “Tell them to cooperate and volunteer to pay. The problem is they don’t respond to our demand letters,” Dulay said.
If POGOs thought the Philippines government agencies were all bark and no bite, they’d be wrong. Less than a month ago on September 16, the Department of Finance (DOF) also warned POGOs to pay their tax bills or face consequences. Just over a week later, Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp (GEGAC) had several locations seized by law enforcement officials, specifically for a failure of “registration for VAT purposes.”
GEGAC, after agreeing to pay their taxes and additional penalties, was allowed to resume operations after agreeing to pay PHP 250 million ($4.82 million) immediately, and the remaining amount of their PHP 1.3 billion ($25 million) in the next three months.
But that isn’t the end of the BIR’s intended activities, as they have formed a task force to go after POGOs who, like GEGAC, haven’t paid up yet. And they have the support of the local gambling regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to do so. Andrea Domingo, chief executive of the regulator, said:
“We follow the law. The BIR has the legal authority to close down establishments that evade taxes. Pagcor supports this move.”
Domingo also noted that PAGCOR is taking its own steps to resolve the tax liabilities of its operators. She noted they are acting on the imposition of interest on outstanding arrears, forfeiture of performance bond, imposition of demerits/administrative sanctions and charging of cash penalty, cancellation of license and endorsement to legal division for proper collection efforts.