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 Bakrie official slapped with travel ban over tax

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BerichtOnderwerp: Bakrie official slapped with travel ban over tax    vr 26 dec 2014 - 3:34

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Friday December 26 201

The Finance Ministry has slapped a travel ban on 487 non-compliant tax payers,including an official at retail complex Epicentrum Walk (Epiwalk) belonging to PT Bakrie Swasakti Utama, a unit of PT Bakrieland Development (ELTY) owned by tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, the chairman of the Golkar Party.

Deputy Finance Minister Mardiasmo, who also serves as interim director general of taxation, confirmed the issuance of the travel ban on the Epiwalk official by the Law and Human Rights Ministry directorate general for immigration.

Mardiasmo, however, declined to provide further details.

“Yes, [the company’s official] is on the list. There are a total of 487 non-compliant tax payers on the travel-ban list. I can’t remember all the names on the list as I did not look into the details,” Mardiasmo said at the KPK headquarters on Wednesday night.

After issuing repeated warnings, the Jakarta Administration sealed the Epiwalk building in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Tuesday for failing to pay property taxes amounting to Rp 8.8 billion (US$ 705,217) for the year 2013 and 2014.

“There were several warnings but they made no response,” Sugeng Ruswan of the Jakarta tax agency said on Tuesday.

Mardiasmo said the ministry hoped that the travel ban could serve as shock therapy for errant tax payers.

He added that a number of foreign nationals were also included on the travel-ban list submitted to the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

“The list includes both Indonesian and foreign nationals,” Mardiasmo said.

He further said that the Law and Human Rights Ministry Directorate General for Immigration would maintain the travel bans on the 487 non-compliant tax payers until they fully paid their taxes to the government.

“For the foreign nationals on the list they cannot return to their home countries until they meet their obligations,” Mardiasmo said.

Contacted separately, Epiwalk spokesman Biba Nelly said she had yet to receive any information regarding the travel ban.

“I might have to check the information first from people at my office as I have not heard anything about it as of today,” Biba told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Separately, chief operations officer at PT Bakrie Swasakti Utama, Melky Aliandri, said the delay in the payment of the property tax was caused by “miscommunication” among officials in the company.

“Before the deadline for payment expired, our officers in charge of the payment were already on year-end leave. We apologize for the miscommunication in our company, which has resulted in the late payment of the tax,” Melky said in a statement sent to the Post on Thursday.

Following the city administration’s decision to seal off the building, Melky said, officials from the company directly went to pay the tax to the Jakarta tax agency.

“In principle we paid our property tax on Tuesday Dec. 23. As a company we always abide by the rules,” Melky said.

In early November, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he would reform the tax-collection system in order to boost tax revenues from the increasing number of business organizations in Indonesia and the country’s growing
middle class.

Jokowi, whose administration took office on Oct. 20, noted that the government had not once met its tax collection targets from 2005 to 2013 and the economy’s taxation ratio only increased by 0.1 percent over the last 10 years.

Every year, only around 17 million tax payers return their tax-declaration forms to the Finance Ministry, compared to the total population of 240 million in the country.

The administration said it aimed to collect Rp 1.38 quadrillion in taxes next year in the 2015 state budget plan. Tax revenues account for 78 percent of the total state revenues of Rp 1.79 quadrillion.

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