By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that he is not against Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), but that the full force of the law will be used against those tax evading online casinos.
Dominguez, who initiated the campaign against unregistered POGO service providers, said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is just implementing the law that requires all earnings within the Philippines to be subject to taxes.
“We are not against POGOs,” Dominguez said during a forum in Taguig City, but “we are totally implementing the law [and] the law says everybody who works in the Philippines whether they are foreigners or domestic workers have to pay taxes.”
Aside from income taxes, Dominguez noted that POGOs’ foreign employees, like Filipinos working abroad, should also contribute to the government-mandated pension fund like Social Security System (SSS).
“We are saying follow the law, withhold the taxes as required by law, pay SSS fees as required by law. We’re not asking anything else,” Dominguez said. “If I were the landlord, I say pay your taxes or else you’re going to be shut down.”
Dominguez recalled his oath of office that says “to implement the law.”
“You don’t like the law? Get it changed. But I have to implement what is written,” he said.
Last weekend, BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay said that service providers for POGO must cooperate and comply with the tax authorities to avoid revenue losses once they become subject for closure.
Dulay warned that service providers will incur millions of losses if they will keep snubbing the bureau’s demand letters regarding their outstanding tax liabilities with the government.
“Tell them to cooperate and volunteer to pay. The problem is they don’t respond to our demand letters,” Dulay said, indicating there were still POGO service providers that remain non-compliant with the tax laws and regulations despite government crackdown.