The Daily Manila Shimbun


BIR expects P2 billion tax collection from foreign workers

July 11, 2019

The Bureau of Internal Revenue ( BIR) on Thursday said they are expecting around P2 billion from foreign workers after signing a joint memorandum circular with other government agencies which requires foreigners working in the Philippines to pay taxes.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa, in an interview with reporters after the signing of the circular, said they will start collecting taxes from foreign workers this month.

“Estimatedly, what (Finance) Secretary (Carlos Dominguez III) has mentioned we are looking at P2 billion more or less per month. Hopefully we can finish the process and starting July we can start collecting,” he said

“The instruction of Secretary is we collect the current (taxes) first then after we will go back to the (previous months),” Guballa said as they are still doing data matching.

He said they recorded around 130,000 POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator) workers and some have tax identification numbers ( TIN).

“Our process for those who don’t have TIN is ongoing. Those who don’t have, they are going to respective district offices… we are already moving forward as agreed upon,” he said.

“We have so many foreign nationals and we don’t know where they are or when they arrive or left so we must be implementing a very strict rule on this… nationwide we will go after them,” Guballa added.

BIR Commissioner Cesar Dulay said they started sending notices to companies who are not properly paying their taxes.

“That is the responsibility of the POGO operators… they remitted withholding tax but it’s lacking,” he said.

Dulay explained that some companies only declared few of their employees. After theyed check the data from the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labor and Employment they found out more foreign workers are working in companies.

“We need the database for all these (workers). That is the idea of the joint memorandum. We share, DOLE, BI, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation because they have list,” he said.

“As they come in, as they registered, as we issue TIN, we can see the potential (in increasing tax collection),” he added.

He said BIR is working on identifying the unregistered POGO operators.

“We are working on that because I think we have few companies already identified,” he said.

Dulay urged foreigners working in the country to voluntarily get their own TIN.

Dulay said they will use the long arm of the law to force the POGO companies to pay their taxes correctly.

“If they do not pay, then we will close their operation for violation of the tax laws,” he said.

Secretaries from the departments of labor, finance and justice signed the Joint Memorandum Circular on the Rules and Procedures Governing the Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines which requires foreign workers to have the necessary requirements such as TIN, Certificate of No Objection and Alien Employment Permit before they can start working in the country.

The BIR said the joint cooperation stemmed after the influx of POGO workers, mostly foreigners, in the country who are not paying taxes properly. Ella Dionisio/DMS