The Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading the measure establishing a tax regime on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGOs.
Once enacted into law, the measure will require offshore gaming licensees to pay 5% gaming tax on the gross gaming revenue or receipts derived from their gaming operations.
A 25% final withholding tax based on gross income will also be imposed on an alien individual, regardless of residency in the Philippines, term and type of visa.
Voting 17-3-0, the chamber approved Senate Bill 2232, sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano, which provides that all offshore gaming licensees, whether based in the Philippines or abroad, are considered doing business in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the measure as urgent, allowing the Senate to approve it on second and third reading on the same day.
According to Cayetano, the bill will not only address the loopholes in the country's tax law which led to confusion on the operation of POGOs but will also prevent similar problems in the future which could affect the government's power to impose and collect taxes.
“By addressing these gaps in our tax system, we can maximize the POGO industry’s potential as a revenue source. In turn, we will have more resources in our country’s coffers to fund programs that will improve people’s lives and help us build back better," she said.
The government is expected to collect P28.7 billion in revenues from the POGO taxes in 2021.