The Bureau of Internal Revenue said it issued strict regulations on the reopening of Philippine offshore gaming operations and their service providers.
It said in a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that it would make sure that POGOs and their respective service providers were properly registered and would pay the correct income taxes and franchise fees to the government before they could resume operations under the quarantine period.
Under the guidelines and requirements issued by the BIR, all POGO licensees or operators should first show proof that they already paid the 2019 franchise taxes, withholding taxes due for the months of January to April this year and the first-quarter payments of their 2020 franchise tax, before they would be given tax clearances allowing them to resume operations.
POGO service providers, meanwhile, are also required to submit proof that paid their 2019 income taxes and remitted and paid withholding taxes for the months of January to April this year, including the 25-percent final withholding tax due from their foreign employees, before the BIR would give them tax clearances to reopen for business.
The BIR said tax-compliant POGO service providers would not be issued tax clearances if their POGO operators or licensees failed to comply with the bureau’s new requirements.
All POGO licensees, operators and service providers should also submit a notarized undertaking affirming their commitment to pay all tax arrears for prior years of their operations and should be registered with the respective Revenue District Office having jurisdiction over their places of business.
“Failure to comply with any of the [requirements] will result in the denial of the issuance of a BIR clearance for resumption of operations,” according to the rules issued by BIR’s POGO Task Force headed by revenue deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa.
The rules issued on May 6 also state that “the application of a service provider for the issuance of a BIR clearance shall not be approved in case its POGO licensee failed to comply with the BIR requirements for BIR clearance.”
Dominguez earlier said that no POGO operator or service provider would be allowed to operate again “unless they are compliant with all government laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those involving health and taxation.”