Government striving for real results in tax amnesty

Almost two months into the implementation of a much-heralded tax amnesty, the government is looking to yield real results, as outcomes remain below expectations.

Walk the talk: Such was the clear and strong message conveyed on Wednesday by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati to parties involved in the tax amnesty.

She said she was happy to see high public enthusiasm for the program, but insisted that what would matter most was the figures on her dashboard.

The “dashboard” the newly appointed minister was referring to contains data regarding the progress of the tax amnesty, namely the revenue the government has obtained from penalty payments and the amount of funds repatriated from overseas.

As of Wednesday, total penalty payments stood at Rp 318 billion (US$24.49 million), while repatriated funds reached Rp 748 billion. When the figures are compared with the targets, the government has reached only 0.2 percent in terms of penalties and 0.07 percent in terms of repatriated funds.

Sri Mulyani said she wanted the gateways — the financial institutions appointed to facilitate the fund repatriation — to only report to her once they had managed to repatriate funds worth dozens of trillion of rupiah.

“If [you only facilitate repatriation of] Rp 1 trillion, don’t meet me, let alone billions of rupiah. That’s not your level, nor mine,” she said in her remarks during an event at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).

There are now 55 financial firms that have been appointed as gateways, including 18 banks.

They will act as the first entrance and managers of the funds, which are required by the Tax Amnesty Law to remain and be invested onshore for a minimum of three years in various investment tools, such as time deposits at banks, direct investment and share purchases at the stock exchange.

The Finance Ministry has issued a total of four finance ministerial regulations and one decree so far to facilitate the tax amnesty. Two of the regulations were issued on Wednesday, detailing repatriation and investment procedures in both the financial and real sectors.

In the real sector, for instance, funds can be invested in the government’s priority projects, property, gold and other instruments.

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) — which oversees the banking industry and stock market — is preparing a regulation to waive a tender obligation for majority shareholders of publicly listed firms in order to help them “welcome” the inflow of funds under the program.

Meanwhile, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has continued to flex his salesman muscles in a chain of events targeted to raise the public’s awareness of the tax amnesty to offset the slow progress.

He appeared in front of thousands of people in Semarang, Central Java, on Tuesday, aiming to convince them of the eventual benefits of the tax amnesty.

“Why should Singapore have a corporate income tax of 17 percent, while ours remain at 25 percent? We want to compete, but how can we do that? Everyone will end up going over there,” he said.

“It will be possible for our corporate income tax to initially go from 25 percent to 20 percent, before we finally reach 17 percent.”

The crowd suddenly burst into cheers and applause, while many of the batik-clad businesspeople and administration officials were heard saying “Exactly, exactly!” to their peers.

The event followed previous events held in Surabaya in East Java, Medan in North Sumatra and Bandung in West Java; there are plans to hold similar events in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Makassar, South Sulawesi.

sumber :

penulis : Prima Wirayani and Fedina S. Sundaryani

Kategori:Tax Amnesty in English

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