The Philippines Bureau of Internal Revenue is estimating that tax revenue from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) will fall by almost 50% in 2021, impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report by CNN Philippines, projections provided to the senate by BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa show tax revenues falling from Php7.18 billion (US$148 million) in 2020 to Php3.92 billion (US$81 million). The projection is based on a 69% decline in January revenue collected from POGOs to Php327.2 million (US$6.7 million).
Falling tax revenues come as POGOs continue to resist the implementation of a new taxation scheme recently approved by Philippine lawmakers that would see licensed POGOs pay a gaming tax of 5% on gross gaming revenues and POGO workers earning Php600,000 or more per year a 25% withholding tax.
The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against imposition of the new tax law in January after 14 companies filed a petition arguing the law would force them to pay taxes on funds that don’t flow to them as wealth, and on bets placed outside of the Philippines.
Supporters of the tax have stated it would raise additional annual revenues of around Php45 billion (US$935 million).
The Bill will see licensed POGOs pay a gaming tax of 5% on gross gaming revenues. PAGCOR said last week that 38 POGOs are currently operating, down from a peak of 61 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.