Philippine authorities eye income tax payments of Chinese POGO workers
The alleged noncompliance of foreign firms engaged in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) on properly registering and filing personal income taxes of their Chinese workers are now being investigated by the Philippine government. The Department of Finance (DOF) is seeking to collect an estimated P22 billion in income taxes annually from Chinese workers employed by POGOs.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) granted 40,000 foreign nationals – 25,000 of them Chinese – work permits in 2018. But Senator Franklin Drilon questioned the accuracy of this figure and stated that according to industry officials, there are 400,000 foreign workers in Metro Manila alone and an additional 100,000 employed foreigners in Entertainment City, the gaming and entertainment district in Pasay City.
Conversely, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) stated that as of June 2018, they have issued around 95,000 temporary work permits to foreign nationals working in POGOs, majority of whom are Chinese nationals.
Senator Leila de Lima warns that this lack of consistency of records and interagency coordination among the two government agencies can lead to serious issues, including those of criminality, national security, and possible abuse of citizens by undocumented foreign nationals.
At present, DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is working with the agencies of DOLE, BI, Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to come up with a comprehensive list of foreign workers currently employed in POGOs so they can reconcile their records and be able to properly tax these workers.
Secretary Dominguez said in an interview last March 6 that the government is losing an estimated P3 billion in tax revenues a month from foreign workers of POGOs who do not pay personal income taxes.