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POGO service firm reopens after agreeing to pay P45m

Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing, an offshore gaming service provider that was padlocked by the Bureau of Internal Revenue last week for tax violations, was allowed to resume operations Tuesday after agreeing to settle P45 million in tax liabilities, the Department of Finance said.

The BIR said in a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that Altech Innovations vowed to pay its tax liability of P45 million, representing the unremitted withholding taxes of its foreign employees.

Based on BIR assessment in coordination with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration, Altech Innovations was employing 300 to 390 foreigners who were mostly Chinese.

Dominguez said Altech Innovations made an initial payment of P8.2 million to the BIR on Monday and would pay the rbalance of P37 million in November and December. The company also promised to update its 2019 income tax payments.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said the P45-million settlement only accounted for the employees’ income taxes and not the company’s liability for violating the value-added tax registration.

“The problem with these foreign workers, based on the data we gathered from PAGCOR, Immigration and DOLE, they have this ‘come and go’ scheme that’s why you can’t really determine their tax liabilities,” Guballa said.

Guballa assured that Altech Innovations’ tax payment was just the initial amount as the BIR continued to look into the books of the service provider for Philippine offshore gaming operators.

“We make things simple for now, we go after the foreign workers then the VAT. We can’t do all these things at the same time considering our limited manpower. Assessing the VAT liability is a tedious process,” he said.

Guballa said Altech Innovations claimed it operated its branch in Pasay City for only three to four months in 2018, which the BIR had to validate based on data provided by other government agencies.

“Reconciliation and substantiation of records are ongoing. BIR records were collected from PAGCOR, immigration and DOLE,” he said.

Guballa said the DOF and BIR crackdown against tax-dodging POGOs would continue, and they would maintain the “element of surprise” in conducting their raids on unscrupulous service providers.

“We want to tell them, these service providers, that in the Philippines, they should comply with the tax laws,” Guballa said after the BIR shuttered two branches of Altech Innovations in Parañaque and Pasay City on Thursday.

“We should be fair. Filipino or foreigner, they should be paying their taxes here in the Philippines because we need these revenues for nation building especially with the ‘Build, Build, Build’ of the administration,” the BIR official said.

Topics: Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing , POGO , Bureau of Internal Revenue , BIR , Department of Finance , Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
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