BIR shuts down POGO service provider in Parañaque for failing to pay taxes

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The BIR shut down four branches of the New Oriental Club88 Corporation on Wednesday morning, the third in the government's crackdown on tax-evading POGO firms and service providers.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — Another company serving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) has been ordered closed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) upon discovery that its branches in Parañaque were not registered to pay taxes.

The BIR shut down four branches of the New Oriental Club88 Corporation (NOCC) on Wednesday morning, the third in the government's crackdown on tax-evading POGO firms and service providers.

NOCC is registered in Makati City as a customer relations service provider and live studio streaming provider. Its Parañaque offices were not registered with the BIR's district office there, thus the shutdown.

Closed were NOCC's offices in Icon Hotel along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, Pearl Residences and Sky View Tower along Quirino Avenue, and inside Burgundy Tower along Pacific Drive.

The company should have registered these branches with the BIR for payments of value-added tax, the BIR said.

BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations Group Arnel Guballa served the closure order and padlocked NOCC's branches in the city.

Based on BIR records, NOCC had 24 branches registered with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, but only had 12 under BIR.

NOCC employed 23,156 foreigners as of end-2018. Most of them are Chinese, according to a list of alien employment permit applications available online.

The BIR previously served closure orders to POGO service firms Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing and Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corporation for unpaid taxes.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III ordered the closure of all POGOs and their service providers which failed to settle their tax liabilities. This came after the BIR reported that POGO firms were slow to pay ₱21.62 billion in cumulative tax dues demanded from 130 operators and service providers.

Latest BIR data showed it has so far collected ₱1.63 billion in withholding taxes from POGOs and service providers from January to August this year, after collecting ₱175 million in 2017 and ₱579 million in 2018.

The Department of Finance estimates ₱2 billion in withholding taxes due from foreigners working in the POGO industry.

A bill pending before the House of Representatives seeks to tax POGOs at 5 percent of its gross receipts, plus personal income taxes for its foreign employees.