Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto has filed a bill seeking to impose a 30-percent income tax and 5-percent franchise tax on offshore online gaming operations in the country.
Recto said Senate Bill No. 1295 seeks to establish a tax regime for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators which are duly licensed and authorized by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to provide online gambling services to players outside the Philippines.
The bill covers POGO companies in the Philippines, local gaming agents and POGO service providers.
Despite the fact that POGO is a growing industry in the Philippines, Recto said the nature of its business activity creates confusion in the enforcement of the country’s existing laws.
Under PAGCOR rules and regulations on POGO operations, licenses are issued to Filipino-based or foreign-based operators. Service providers that form part of the components of the POGO gaming operations such as gaming software provider, business outsourcing provider and content streaming provider are likewise required to secure a license.
“Both Philippine-based and foreign-based POGO operators are taxable on their income from gaming operations and other related services,” Recto said.
“Establishing the tax regime of POGOs and incorporating the same in the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997, as amended, is necessary to remove any doubt and avoid the confusion as to whether or not POGOs are taxable in our jurisdiction,” he explained.
Under the bill, licensed Philippine-based POGOs, local gaming agents and service providers shall be subjected to a 30-percent income tax, the taxable amount will be derived in the preceding taxable year from all sources within and outside of the Philippines.
Foreign-based POGOs shall also be subjected to a 30-percent income tax based on their gross income derived from game offerings or facilities located within the Philippines.
On top of the 30-percent income tax, Recto’s bill also proposed the imposition of a 5-percent franchise tax on all gross receipts derived from gaming operations of both Philippine and foreign-based POGO operators.
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar on Tuesday warned the public anew against fake text messages using the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) of the Villar Foundation to deceive and profit from unsuspecting people.
Villar cited a text message saying that the Villar Foundation has an ongoing contest and has been offering cash prizes to winners.
“We urge everyone to be more discriminating and to be more vigilant against text scams. It is not true that our foundation has an ongoing contest or raffle draw,” Villar said.
She noted that the Villar SIPAG’s projects are communicated through its official website and validated social media accounts.
The lady senator also urged all those who received the scam text message to immediately report to their office, contact details of which can be found on www.villarsipag.org.
“It is not the first time that text scams were circulated to spread disinformation against the Villar Foundation and the Villar name. It is unfortunate that these scammers are targeting innocent people,” Villar said.
She also added that they have coordinated with the National Telecommunications Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation and will not hesitate to take appropriate legal actions against the people or groups behind the disinformation.
The Nacionalista Party senator also said the proliferation of text scams prompted her to file Senate Bill 340 which mandates the registration of all users of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards as a deterrent to text scams, misleading advertisements and fraudulent sales promotion.
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