The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has renewed its warning to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to pay their taxes or face being shut down.
BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay issued the ultimatum after one licensed POGO, Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp, was closed by the Bureau on 25 September for failing to register with the tax agency. It was subsequently allowed to re-open after paying its initial fee of Php250 million and committing to pay its remaining tax liabilities within three months.
The Philippines Department of Finance last month ordered the BIR to immediately shut down any operators found not to be paying their taxes, pointing to a recent BIR report highlighting the slow pace of POGO tax collections despite having issued 130 notices related to tax liabilities totaling Php21.62 billion.
Providing an update on the situation over the weekend, Dulay said the BIR had again told POGOs to cooperate and pay its taxes but added, “The problem is they don’t respond to our demand letters.”
PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo has reiterated the BIR’s authority to close down any POGOs refusing to pay their taxes, stating, “We follow the law. The BIR has the legal authority to close down establishments that evade taxes. PAGCOR supports this move.”
In cases where POGOs fail to respond to demands, Domingo said there were other measures the BIR is able to implement including interest on outstanding amounts, administrative sanctions, cash penalties and fines, and the permanent cancelation of licenses.