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The Philippines to track foreign workers with inter-agency database

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is now working with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in developing an interagency database of foreign nationals working in the country.

According to a recent press release, this move will effectively monitor the foreign nationals and guarantee that they pay the correct amount of taxes to the Philippine government.

About the initiative

BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, in a report to Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, stated that revisions were made to draft joint memorandum circular (MC) being crafted with the DOLE.

This revisions concern the issuance of work permits to foreigners to include a provision on setting up the database.

He added, during a recent Department of Finance (DOF) Executive Committee (Execom) meeting, they need accurate data on foreigners working in the Philippines in order to effectively pursue their mandate of taxing them.

The BIR Commissioner shared that DOLE had invited the BIR to a meeting that will discuss the joint MC on the issuance of work permits to foreign nationals.

Revisions were made to develop an inter-agency database to be administered by the DOLE.

Keeping track of foreign nationals

Additionally, it was reported that several of the 15,176 foreign nationals working in 174 establishments, which are mostly Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), which DOLE claimed had no working permits, were subsequently determined by the BIR to have proper working permits and visas.

DOLE had been informed of these findings.

Furthermore, the BIR had also sent out 29 letter-notices to several POGO service providers telling them to remit the taxes due them as withholding agents in the amount of PHP 4.44 billion (US$ 86.37 million).

The DOF Secretary advised the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) that there is a need for them to step up their efforts and come up with creative solutions in tracking the entry and employment of foreign nationals in the country.

This is necessary in order to accomplish the goal of coming up with an accurate database of taxable aliens in the Philippines.

While the government is currently focusing on POGOs, the Secretary highlighted that it is the BIR’s mission to ensure that taxes are properly collected to cover all foreign nationals working in the Philippines.

Government agencies involved

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is an agency of the Department of Finance that is in charge of comprehending the assessment and the collection of all national revenue taxes, fees, and charges.

It is also tasked with the enforcement of all forfeitures, penalties, and fines connected therewith, including the execution of judgments in all cases decided in its favour by the Court of Tax Appeals and the ordinary courts.

The Department of Labor and Employment is the executive department of the Philippine Government mandated to formulate policies, implement programs and services, and serve as the policy-coordinating arm of the Executive Branch in the field of labour and employment.

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