The Philippines government is missing out on more than Php3 billion (US$57.5 million) per month in tax revenue from foreign workers working within the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) sector, according to the country’s Finance Secretary.
Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters this week that the Philippines needed to crack down on POGO, with an estimated 100,000 foreign POGO workers currently paying little to no tax.
“That’s US$60 million a month that we seem not to be collecting,” Dominguez said according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “I checked with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), they said they don’t have a clue. What?
“It is so unfair that Filipinos doing the same kind of work pay tax. Why should foreigners not pay tax? That’s the law… all I want is fairness.”
The BIR also revealed that only seven of 10 local POGO licensees and eight of 44 offshore operators were registered with the agency.
Dominguez has called for a collaborative effort between a range of government agencies – namely the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, the Securities and Exchange Commission and gaming regulator PAGCOR – to compile a list of all foreigners working for POGO service providers.
The BIR declared last year that all licensed POGO providers must register and pay taxes in the Philippines, including those operating overseas.