Sunset Policy and the Analogy of Swans

indofamilynetFriday, 21 November 2008
The sunset policy program will have ended at 31 December this year in which still remains some problems in the fields by having not the same perception among tax officers as the major problem. Therefore, the director general of taxes, Mr. Darmin Nasution, in his busiest activities spending his time just only to direct us in order to have the same step forward regarding the sunset policy program.

Once, I just saw the upbeat sentences during his speech (something that I’v never seen before, even I appointed him as an unproud person to his organization). Maybe, the answer is now he is able to show the resuts of his performance during his leadership that make him proud. In his speech, he mentioned some good indicators i.e. the succesfull of meeting the collection of tax targets burdened by the house of representatives, the increasing of tax officers performance and integrity, for instance auditors, as being complimented by some bankers and business people, etc. Each of his optimistic sentences, unforgetedly, we followed by clapping our hands, I illustrated that situation as “finally, we found our fathers”.

Back to the theme of his speech that was sunset policy program, he commended that sunset policy is a program that encourages an individual to voluntarily register for a Taxpayer Identification Number this year and the most important is to file annual tax returns for 2007 and for previous years that deadline is December 31 this year. As a consequence, it will be pardoned from interest penalties and tax audits related to tax returns.

Surprisingly, the major aims of sunset policy program is not for increasing tax revenue but for improving our tax administration and then increasing taxpayers compliance. The increasing of tax revenue is only the last purpose. Admitedly, our tax administration is still poor even though I guess It’s still better compare to other state institution administration. That will be improved by Mr Darmin through sunset policy program. He pointed out that since Soeharto regime era, it had been forbidden to disclose the lists of assets in the income tax returns, something made him worried about as the basic purpose of the income tax returns is to report the assets in order to examine the fairness of taxes paid.

However, this program has not being running well yet due to the “arrogance” of tax officers. He never blame us for that since it has been “built in” minds of tax officers. The brain of tax officers will scrutinize the fairness of tax paid by taxpayers, then this is ‘worsen’ by the Account Representatives that have been insisted to meet the certain tax target. Imagine, one taxpayers corrected the income tax return for 2006 and filed the addition assets (for example a house valued Rp 100 M). As a tax officer, it automatically will bring the mind to the next question, such as where taxpayer obtained the assets? why taxpayers only pay little tax? it should be more than they paid…next the final action that customarily conducted by the tax officers is do equalisation between income tax and value-added tax.

These “arrogance” that should be stopped for the reason that back to the major aims of this program is to improve the tax administration. Don’t be afraid of Corruption Eradication Commission action cause he had put the law protection for that. Let taxpayers corrected and filed their income tax returns and disregarded the tax potential loss cause according to him it is the basic improvement of tax administration. Then he stated the analogy of swans, let the taxpayers reported their swans, then don’t ask their swans’ eggs first cause it prohibits them to report it. Our tasks are just to make them sure that they have been correct reporting their swans. Next year we can strive harvesting the eggs of their swans. Not now…

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