Indonesia tax amnesty hits 90% of target

People waiting at a help desk for tax amnesty at Indonesia's tax headquarters in Jakarta last Friday, when the first phase of the nine-month scheme ended. The bulk of offshore wealth that Indonesian taxpayers have declared and sent home under the amn
People waiting at a help desk for tax amnesty at Indonesia's tax headquarters in Jakarta last Friday, when the first phase of the nine-month scheme ended. The bulk of offshore wealth that Indonesian taxpayers have declared and sent home under the amnesty was from Singapore, Indonesian tax officials said yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Taxpayers declare more than $379 billion in assets at home and abroad in scheme's first phase

Director-general of taxes Ken Dwijugiasteadi expects the amnesty to bring in about 4,500 trillion rupiah worth of assets by the time the final count for Phase 1, which is still in process, is completed. But he said there is more work to be done. "In the second phase, we will focus on SMEs, and those that have not joined," he said.

Indonesia's tax amnesty scheme has achieved 90 per cent of its 4,000 trillion rupiah target in just three months.

Taxpayers had declared more than 3,600 trillion rupiah (S$379 billion) in assets, kept both at home and overseas, when the first phase of the nine-month scheme ended last Friday.

Director-general of taxes Ken Dwijugiasteadi told reporters at a briefing yesterday that he expects the amnesty to bring in about 4,500 trillion rupiah worth of assets by the time the final count for Phase 1, which is still in process, is completed. But he said there is more work to be done.

"In the second phase, we will focus on SMEs, and those that have not joined," he said, referring to small and medium-sized enterprises.

The tax amnesty was introduced in July to help Indonesia recover billions of dollars in revenue lost to widespread tax evasion and in assets hidden overseas by wealthy citizens and businesses.

The bulk of offshore wealth that Indonesian taxpayers have declared and sent home under the amnesty was from Singapore, tax officials said yesterday. Assets include property, gold, land and even account receivables, or debt owed to business owners, the officials added.

Of the 952 trillion rupiah in total offshore assets declared under the scheme, 70 per cent was kept in Singapore. Some 79.13 trillion rupiah has since been repatriated from the Republic back to Indonesia, the officials said. This amount was more than half of the 137 trillion rupiah that taxpayers have sent back to Indonesia in order to take advantage of the lowest tax rate offered under the first phase.

A distant second was the Cayman Islands, from which 16.5 trillion rupiah worth of offshore assets was repatriated, followed by Hong Kong (14 trillion rupiah in assets).

The taxman also collected 97.2 trillion rupiah, or 59 per cent, of the tax revenue Jakarta hoped to raise.

One letdown was that only 14 per cent of what Jakarta had targeted was repatriated from overseas.

The tax rate for those who repatriate their assets after the first phase went up by 1 percentage point to 3 per cent from last Saturday. It will be 5 per cent in the third and last phase, which ends in March.

For assets declared but not repatriated, the tax rate now is 6 per cent but will go up to 10 per cent in the last three months of the scheme.

Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati had said during a judicial review of the Tax Amnesty Bill last month that Indonesians have about US$250 billion (S$342 billion) worth of assets overseas.

Mr Dwijugiasteadi said yesterday that among the assets declared and repatriated under the amnesty were cash, stocks, property and gold as well as other valuables.

Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) president director Tito Sulistio is optimistic that more taxpayers will repatriate their wealth in the second phase despite the higher tax rates.

He estimates that up to 40,000 SMEs will join the scheme and has urged the government to simplify the application procedure, particularly for online applications.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla yesterday urged taxpayers who have not reported their wealth to join the amnesty because they will not be able to hide their assets once the automatic exchange of information on tax matters kicks in.

Indonesia, Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong are among 94 countries and territories committed to start exchanging information to combat tax evasion by 2018.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesia tax amnesty hits 90% of target'. Print Edition | Subscribe