Following a recent repeated demand for Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs) to pay their taxes, another operation was raided and shut down for failing to do that.
The Manila Bulletin reports Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Deputy Operations Commissioner Arnel Guballa ordered Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing (AIBC) to be closed. The POGO will remain closed with branches in Paranaque and Pasay City until it fulfills the 25 percent withholding tax on foreign employee wages. The task force of POGO also decides whether it has any tax liabilities.
Guballa told the media that AIBC failed to register the company for tax purposes in direct violation of recent warnings to POGOs.
While justice and immigration structures in the Philippines appear to be plagued by ongoing arrests and investigations, AIGC’s 700 foreign employees have not been arrested. At the moment, there is not enough space for the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to place all those people.
The most recent BIR warning came earlier in the month of October when BIR Commissioner Dulay indicated that if they were not to pay their taxes, non-compliant POGOs would have to pay a heavy price in fines and closures. Boss Andrea Domingo backed up the tax office by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), urging operators to follow the law.
The closure comes just days after, Guballa told the media that hopefully warnings and raids were a winning strategy, with additional tax revenue already coming into the government and many POGOs wondering how they might fit the law.
If the case of AIBC is something similar to that of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corporation (GEGAC), the only way out was to pay. In September, GEGAC was temporarily closed for failing to pay its taxes, only to be allowed to resume operations in October after agreeing to pay PHP 250 million ($4 million) and pledging to continue with its tax payments.