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‘Tax-dodging’ POGO offers to settle P1.3-B deficiency

A Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) padlocked by the government last week for tax delinquency offered to settle its P1.3-billion deficiency, prompting the Bureau of Internal Revenue to cancel the closure order.

Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. (GEGAC) also agreed to update its withholding tax payments and register all its employees, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said on Tuesday.

The taxman padlocked the offices of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. on September 25, as the company did not register with the bureau for value-added tax (VAT) purposes, violating the Tax Code.

“Yes, BIR lifted the closure order,” Dulay said in a text message.

“They offered to pay P250 million and [the] balance in three months—up to end-December in post-dated checks,” Dulay noted.

GEGAC has an estimated tax deficiency of P1.3 billion, according to the BIR chief.

“I approved recommendation of POGO Task Force and the BIR received payment of P250 million on Sept. 30. [They’re] allowed to operate and required to update withholding tax payments and register employees,” Dulay said.

GEGAC has gaming operations in Subic Freeport, Libis in Quezon City, and Aseana City in Parañaque.

It employs around 8,000 foreign nationals, according to the bureau.

GEGAC was closed in line with a directive from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to intensify the government’s crackdown on tax-violating POGOs. —VDS, GMA News