In the Philippines and a proposal is reportedly making its way through the legislative process that could soon oblige all locally-licensed iGaming operators to pay up to a 5% tax on their gross gaming revenues.
According to a report from the news website at Rappler.com, House Bill 5777 was passed by the Philippines House of Representatives via a 198 to 13 margin on Monday and is soon set to be put before the Philippines Senate. The source detailed that the legislation will now become law if it can survive three readings by this 24-member body and subsequently receive the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Should this measure become the law of the land and the domain reported that iGaming firms with a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license would escape all existing levies, fees and franchising duties in exchange for agreeing to hand over 5% of their gross gaming revenues in tax. The proposed legislation sponsored by representative Jose ‘Joey’ Salceda (pictured) would moreover purportedly institute a 25% ‘withholding’ levy on all foreign nationals employed by such enterprises earning a salary of more than about $12,400.
The Philippines is reportedly home to 51 firms holding a POGO license although only 34 of these have so far been granted permission to resume operations in the wake of the nation’s coronavirus-induced lockdown. Such iGaming ventures are currently required to pay a 5% tax on their net income with proponents of the new legislation purportedly hopeful that the envisioned change in terms would allow the state to bring in approximately $935 million in annual taxes.
Despite these anticipated financial gains, the Deputy Minority Leader for the Philippines House of Representatives, Carlos Zarate, was reportedly one of those to oppose the passage of House Bill 5777 over concerns that doing so would further legitimize an industry that only entered the country due to its proximity to China, which has outlawed all forms of online gambling.
Reportedly read a statement from Zarate…
“POGOs were created to serve as a ‘legal loophole’ so residents from countries where gambling is illegal, like China, can still engage in such activities. We are against the plan of our government to open our country to gambling activities that are not only illegal in other nations but are often linked to other criminal activities.”
In its report on the matter and Inside Asian Gaming explained that House Bill 5777 would not levy the 5% gross revenues tax on the 131 firm’s currently accredited to offer services to those holding a POGO license. However, this source detailed that such enterprises would remain subject to analogous local and national duties so long as they had first settled any outstanding liabilities, penalties and fees.
Salceda reportedly proclaimed…
“New revenues come primarily from classifying service providers as regular corporations and including their alien employees in the presumed minimum taxable income system and allowing the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and special economic zones to levy regulatory fees of up to 2%.”