MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has shut down seven establishments in Las Piñas City, two of which are restaurants catering mostly to Chinese employees of Philippine offshore gaming operators.
POGO restaurants operated by Frame Rose Ranes Salisi (under trade name Young Restaurant) and Shinedeligo Corp. were padlocked over unpaid value-added taxes (VAT), according to the agency’s Revenue Region 8B-South National Capital Region.
The BIR also suspended operations of five other establishments which were not registered with the bureau.
“The required 48-hour notice and five-day VAT compliance notice were served but remained unheeded. As such, closure orders were recommended for the approval of the Deputy Commissioner for Operations,” the BIR said.
Under Section 115(b) of the Tax Code, the BIR is authorized to suspend or close the business operations of a taxpayer for a period of not less than five days for failure to register, issue VAT official receipts or sales invoices, file correct VAT returns or pay the correct VAT.
On Sept. 25, BIR personnel and police officers padlocked the offices of Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. in Libis, Quezon City over non-payment of taxes.
Simultaneous operations were conducted in its Subic and Parañaque branches.
According to the BIR, the POGO service provider was not registered with the bureau in violation of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
The BIR lifted the closure order on Sept. 27 after the company committed to settle P1.3 billion in tax liabilities in tranches.
The firm made its first payment amounting to P250 million on Monday. The remaining balance is payable by December, according to the BIR.
BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa earlier said they would intensify the crackdown on unregistered POGO service providers.
He said more than 200 service providers are licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). Only half of them are registered with the BIR.
The BIR along with the POGO task force has been running after POGOs and service providers that do not withhold and remit taxes of their foreign employees.
Based on estimates of the Department of Finance, the government would be able to generate around P2 billion in additional revenue a month from the withholding tax of at least 138,000 foreign workers in the POGO sector.
Pagcor expressed its support to the BIR’s campaign to run after tax evaders following the raid on restaurants believed to be operating as POGOs.
Carmelita Valdez, Pagcor assistant vice president for corporate communications, lauded the BIR’s actions against the erring business establishments. – With Rainier Allan Ronda