A house committee has approved a bill that calls for introducing a 5% tax on the annual gross income of Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). The country’s House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill unanimously and will now move upward for a second reading in the House of Representatives.
Representative Joey Salceda, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, introduced the bill and it seeks to amend Sections 22, 25 and 119 of the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines.
If approved, the POGOS would have to pay a 5 percent tax instead of a 2 percent gross revenue tax imposed on Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) licensees.
The country’s Department of Finance has already said that the POGOS are subject to local tax laws.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that, “if the POGO [gaming operator] located outside the country caters to foreign gamblers, then it is not subject to tax in the Philippines.”
“However, the service provider of the POGO located in the Philippines through workers/employees here, is subject to tax and VAT [value-added tax] on its fees charged to the non-resident POGO, ” he added.
The Philippines is seeking to increase taxes on POGOS. On top of the 5 percent franchise tax, Joey Salceda has also proposed a gambling tax of $10,000 per table for live betting operations, and $5,000 for RNG games.
Recently, an infrastructure-oriented think-tank, Infrawatch, called for detailed cybersecurity and money laundering audit of all such offshore gambling facilities in the country.