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BIR gets P200M from 6 ‘Pogo’ firms

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has collected an initial P200 million from six companies working in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) sector, in line with its drive to collect the proper taxes due the government from foreign nationals working in the country.

At the sidelines of the BIR’s 115th Anniversary last week, BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said the companies that were sent letter-notices on taxes that should be paid to the government are now paying their deficiencies. “They are paying already,” Dulay told reporters.

Deputy Commissioner Arnel SD. Guballa said that based on the preliminary figures of the BIR, the bureau has so far collected P200 million in taxes just from these six companies working in the Pogo sector since it started in July its drive to collect the taxes from foreign workers in the country.

“It’s around P200 million [from six companies in the Pogo]…. That’s just the start,” Guballa said.

Dulay earlier said the BIR sent out 29 letter-notices to several Pogo service providers, telling them to remit the taxes due from them as withholding agents, in the amount of P4.44 billion.

Fast-tracked TIN

Last month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the BIR is fast-tracking the processing of taxpayer identification numbers (TIN) for foreign nationals working in the country, including those working in the Pogo sector, in line with the government’s initiative to collect proper taxes.

Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko said the BIR’s processing of the TIN for foreign nationals working in the country is going “pretty fast,” with the bureau now receiving bulk applications.

She explained that the BIR has already processed around 10,000 TINs for foreign nationals working in the Pogo sector within the vicinity of Parañaque City alone.

According to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the tax collections from the foreign nationals working in the country will ramp up further once they are all issued TINs.

The DOF earlier reported that an estimated P2 billion in taxes can be collected from foreign nationals working in the Pogo sector alone.

Dominguez has been the main driving force behind getting various agencies involved in collecting income taxes from alien labor working in the country. He  said that the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and law-enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should get their act together to weed out illegal aliens working in the country.

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