The Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) has warned the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) to follow the government’s directives on tax payments adding that only a few POGO companies have complied with the regulations issued last week. 

“Failure to comply will result in the denial of the issuance of a BIR clearance for resumption of operations,” according to BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa, who heads the agency’s task force on POGOs.

“Submission of falsified or fraudulent documents shall result in the denial of the mandatory BIR tax clearance,” Guballa added.

He released the warning after Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay revealed almost all POGOs and their service providers have failed to follow the BIR regulations issued on May 7.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the state-run gambling regulator, issued 60 POGOs licenses to operate earlier this year while 218 Pogo service providers employing more than 108,000 China-led foreigners have successfully registered with the BIR.

The Department of Finance (DOF) on Saturday restated that the clearance to restart operations can be requested by POGO licensees and service providers by following the strict rules mandated in the BIR issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 46-2020, signed by Dulay on May 7.

“According to the set of guidelines and requirements issued by the BIR, all POGO licensees or operators should first show proof that they have already paid their 2019 franchise taxes, their withholding taxes due for the months of January to April this year, as well as the first-quarter payments of their 2020 franchise tax, before they would be given tax clearances allowing them to resume operations,” the DOF stated.

“POGO service providers, meanwhile, are similarly required to submit proof that they have 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,” it added.

The DOF also added that even tax-compliant service providers “would not be issued tax clearances by the BIR should their Pogo, or licensees fail to comply with the bureau’s new requirements.”  (RJ Espartinez)