These Indonesian Tycoons Are Leading Examples on Tax Amnesty

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Jakarta, – Amid doubts about the optimal effectiveness of the tax amnesty program, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is continuing to keep his optimism alive. Some in the public have given a thumbs-up for his seemingly stubborn steps to make the ambitious tax amnesty a success.  They agree with the President that the current main issue about the tax amnesty is only a matter of corporations as well as individual taxpayers needing more time to make themselves ready to participate in the tax program.

Cautious optimism, for instance, came from Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani who is currently perceived as the country’s economy czar. About a month after taking up her ministerial post in July, Sri Mulyani admitted that the Rp 165 trillion tax amnesty target was hard to achieve. However, she insists that the country’s low tax ratio must be fixed immediately through the eight-month tax amnesty program. The government launched the program on 18 July 2016, which will run until 31 March 2017.

Meanwhile, few conglomerate leaders showed up last week at separate tax offices in Jakarta to report their tax data. They included Sofjan Wanandi and James T Riady. The former is chairman and CEO of the Gemala Group while the latter is deputy chairman and CEO of the Lippo Group. Sofjan Wanandi is also Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s special advisor.

Last Friday, after reporting his tax data at the tax office in Central Jakarta, Sofjan Wanandi said his coming to that office aimed to show others that ‘talk only’ is not enough. He admitted to that he had just reported his private assets only, and not his corporate assets.

“I had finished doing what I had to do. The whole process lasted for 15 minutes only. So if I talk to them again (business people), I could show them that I had given an example. I should not talk only,” he said.

Conglomerates satisfied

Apparently against the allegations that President Jokowi had prematurely hyped up his tax amnesty program, Sofjan Wanandi feels optimistic that many conglomerate leaders will follow suit these coming weeks. He said tax amnesty proceeds could reach Rp 30 trillion this month, compared with the total Rp 165 trillion target planned until the end of March next year.  By last Friday afternoon, tax amnesty payment reached Rp 3.95 trillion, which included Rp 3.46 trillion from individual tax payers.

Meanwhile, James T Riady agrees with Sofjan Wanandi, saying that all those business people he had met had seriously expressed their support for success of the tax amnesty program.

“No one had said not to participate. That was why I urged them to immediately come in (declare and repatriate their assets),” James T Riyadi said.

“I feel sure the tax amnesty program will succeed. This month (September) many more business people will participate,” James T Riady told Suara Pembaruan last Friday at the South Jakarta tax office.

Like Sofjan Wanandi, James R Riyadi said, “Today I had a special experience of dealing with tax officers. All the promises made by the government about tax services happened. The tax institutions are very professionals. Their staff worked fast, efficiently and friendly. There is nothing to fear.”

The Lippo Group boss last Friday declared at the tax office his private assets, which included domestic fortunes and repatriated funds.

Here was his reason to come and declare his assets, “I feel pushed to utilize the tax amnesty facility because of my intention to become a (Indonesian) citizen and a good taxpayer. Nothing is perfect while the important thing is our good intention to fulfill our obligations and take part in the development of this nation and state. I feel sure, this is the last tax amnesty.”

Information openness

James T Riady called on business people from throughout Indonesia to immediately utilize the tax amnesty program as the whole world will enter a new phase of information openness.

Meanwhile, in early July of this year, Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said the government was too optimistic about the tax amnesty program. He was speaking in a news conference in South Jakarta.

The Kadin chairman said as reported by The Jakarta Post, “I guess the government has been too aggressive by targeting that high figure.”



Writer : Leo Jegho

Sources: Global Indonesian Voices




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