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BIR closes Parañaque POGO with 1,000 workers

The Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday shut down a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) service provider in Parañaque City that employs nearly 1,000 Chinese nationals for violating tax laws.

BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said that Altech Innovations Business Outsourcing operated by a certain Jan Erick Lavarias Altavas “neglected and/ or failed” to comply with the requirements under Section 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 as amended, specifically its non-payment of value-added tax and incomplete payment of the withholding tax of its employees.

Its head office is located at Aseana City, Parañaque.  The BIR also closed its branch at the sixth floor, Tower Four of Double Dragon Plaza, DD Meridian Park, EDSA extension corner Macapagal Avenue, Bay Area in Pasay City.

The closure was based on the recommendatory report of the BIR POGO Task Force.

“The firm is not registered as a VAT taxpayer... This closure is part of our sustained campaign and enforcement against non-compliant firms,” Guballa said.

Guballa did not say the exact figure but he said Altech’s tax deficiencies might reach hundreds of millions of pesos.

“They are employing around 700 to 1,000 Chinese workers.... and these workers’ withholding tax are not complete,” Guballa said.

Guballa said Altech could resume its operations once it settled its tax obligations with the government.

“Once they pay, we will lift the closure order so that they can resume operations,” Guballa said.

BIR commissioner Caesar Dulay earlier warned tax-delinquent POGO operators, saying they should be ready to face the harsh consequences of their actions if they continued to be non-compliant with the country’s tax laws. Julito G. Rada

Dulay said the service providers for POGOs should also cooperate and comply with the tax authorities to avoid revenue losses once they became subject for closure.

A “tax-dodging” offshore gaming service provider entered into a P1.3-billion settlement with the BIR in September a few days after the bureau shuttered its operations in Quezon City, Parañaque and Zambales.

Dulay said Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. paid an initial P250 million for the lifting of the BIR closure order because “they cannot afford to be closed for long.”

Topics: Bureau of Internal Revenue , Philippine offshore gaming operator , Arnel Guballa
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