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POGOs are subjected to PH tax system, Garbin tells Calida

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Committee on Justice vice chair Alfredo Garbin has disputed the opinion of Solicitor General Jose Calida that offshore gaming hubs under the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) cannot be subjected to taxation under the Philippine tax system.

According to Garbin, Calida’s opinion on the non-taxability of POGO hubs “is contrary to the Basic Rules and Principles of Philippine Taxation.”

Garbin explained that “income derived within the Philippines is taxable” and since offshore gaming hubs are doing business in the Philippine soil and receiving protection from the government in the conduct of their business then they should be taxed.

Garbin stressed that POGO hubs “should be treated as resident foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines” and the income they collected here “by virtue of their Legal Operation shall be taxed in the same manner as domestic corporation.”

He added that there should be no attempt on treating the Calida’s opinion as a tax exemption on POGO operators “as it is not expressly granted by law and granting tax exemption is basically a legislative function.”

The Ako Bicol Party-list solon cited RMO 102-2017 issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that clarifies the taxability of POGO and it is classified into two: 1. Income from gaming operations which refers to income or earning realized or derived from operating of gambling casinos etc.; 2. Income from other related services.

“Compensation, fees commissions or any other form of remuneration as a result of services rendered to POGO licensees or any other business entity licensed by PAGCOR shall be subject to applicable withholding taxes,” said Garbin.

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