Philippines not satisfied with lower tax take from online gaming

MANILA: Philippines Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez wants the main tax agency to shut down and file cases against online gaming operators that haven’t paid their dues.

Dominguez issued the order after finding out that the Bureau of Internal Revenue hasn’t substantially collected the 21.6 billion pesos (US$420 million) in income taxes that should have been withheld by online gaming operators, according to a statement on Sunday.

The revenue agency has issued 130 tax assessments to companies involved in online gaming, an industry that’s estimated by property broker David Leechiu to be employing about 440,000 workers.

“Why don’t we start closing them down so they will answer these assessments?” the statement cited Dominguez asking during a recent meeting.

The online casino industry employs mostly Chinese workers catering to gamblers from the mainland.

China has asked the Philippines to ban online gaming but President Rodrigo Duterte said the country needs the industry.