A lawmaker urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent a bill which seeks to impose taxes on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, the principal author of House Bill 5257 which seeks to impose a 5 percent franchise tax on all offshore gaming companies on gross receipts derived from gaming operations, made the call after reports of POGO firms exiting the country has surfaced due to the imposition of more stringent tax rules on the industry.
“This development underscores why we need to codify into law our tax regime for POGOs. As I emphasized then when I filed the POGO tax bill, it is important that we codify POGO taxation so that avoiding tax liabilities becomes tax evasion,” Salceda said.
“And that allows us a whole host of other implied powers—from the ability to issue hold-departure orders to the ability to use law enforcement to investigate suspected illegal POGO activities, ” Salceda added.
Salceda also pointed out that some operators may use their closure as a “tactic” to reopen under different declared ownership with the real owners and operators being able to evade previous tax liabilities.
Under the bill, a new 5 percent franchise tax on the gross income of POGOs will be imposed. A 25-percent withholding tax on foreign POGO workers with a minimum threshold of PHP600,000 per annum will also be mandated.
These proposed tax rates would raise a total of P45 billion for the national government, according to Salceda.