POGOs must pay deficiency taxes before resuming operations: Palace

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announces during a press briefing at the New Executive Building (NEB) in Malacañang on January 8, 2018 that the Philippines has topped World Energy Council’s (WEC) World Energy Trilemma Index 2017 on environmental sustainability for the third consecutive year. YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang stated that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) must first settle their deficiency taxes before government allows their resumption of operations.

“For now, ang gustong mangyari ng Presidente, magbayad muna sila ng kanilang deficiency taxes bago sila payagang mag-operate muli (what the President wants is that they pay their deficiency taxes first before they are allowed to operate),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque also claimed that Malacañang is not discounting the possibility that heavier taxes could be imposed on POGOs, instead of taxing small-time online sellers.

“Never say never po,” Roque said when asked if the Palace was supportive of the proposal of Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri to impose heavier taxes on POGOs.

Zuburi’s proposal is to shift burden to POGOs by imposing additional taxes on them instead of taxing small-time online sellers, deeming it “insensitive” and “unnecessary.”

Roque recognized the plight of online sellers, but noted that taxing online sellers is being done since the previous administration.

“Naiintindihan namin ang hirap ng buhay pero ito pong polisiya po, hindi ito bago. Itong polisiya po na buwisan ang mga online sellers nagsimula pa po noong si Kim Henares ang BIR Commissioner sa panahon po ni Presidente Noynoy Aquino (We understand that life is hard but this policy is not new. This policy to tax online sellers started when Kim Henares was BIR Commissioner during the time of President Benigno Aquino III),” he said.

In a memorandum circular issued by BIR on June 10, the agency asked all persons doing business and earning income through electronic platforms and media “to ensure that their businesses are registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 236 of the Tax Code, and that they are tax compliant”.