President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure imposing additional taxes on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), Malacañang said on Thursday.

Duterte on Wednesday inked Republic Act 11590 or An Act Taxing POGOs, as part of the government’s efforts to regulate all forms of legal gambling and prohibit illegal gambling operations, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Under RA 11590, around 60 percent of the total revenue collected from POGOS will be allocated for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, Roque said.

Roque said about 20 percent of the revenue will be allotted for the health facilities’ enhancement programs, while the remaining 20 percent will be used for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals by the National Economic and Development Authority.

Alien individuals employed by offshore gaming licensees and service providers will have to pay a final withholding tax of 25 percent on their gross income, based on a copy of RA 11590 released by the Palace on Thursday.

RA 11590 also slaps POGO employees with a minimum final withholding tax due of PHP12,500 for any taxable month.

“All offshore gaming licensees and service providers shall submit to the Bureau of Internal Revenue the original copy of notarized contract of employment clearly stating therein the annual salary and other benefits and entitlements of the concerned alien,” the law read.

According to RA 11590, foreign POGO employees, regardless of nature of employment, must have a tax identification number.

All offshore gaming licensees and providers who employ a foreign national will pay a fine of PHP20,000 for every foreign national sans tax identification number.

Their primary and other licenses obtained from government agencies might also be revoked.

The non-gaming revenues of Philippine-based offshore gaming licensees will also be subject to an income tax equivalent to 25 percent of the taxable income derived during each taxable year from all sourced within and without the Philippines.

Accredited service providers to offshore gaming licensees will not be subject to the gaming tax, but will pay such rate of tax and will be subject to all other applicable local and national taxes.

The entire gross gaming receipts from gaming, “whichever is higher, will be levied, assessed, and collected a gaming tax equivalent to 5 percent, in lieu of all other direct and indirect internal revenue taxes and local taxes, with respect to gaming income.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or any special economic zone authority or tourism zone authority or freeport authority may also impose regulatory fees on offshore gaming licensees which should not cumulatively exceed 2 percent of the gross gaming revenue or receipts.

The government is expected to collect PHP28.7 billion in revenues from POGOs in 2020 and PHP32 billion in 2022, following the signing of RA 11590. (PNA)