Father Benny Susetyo: Tax Boycott, Suggestion for Better Services

Tax boycott issue becomes a hot issue topic in recent weeks. The issue was triggered by the results of the National Congress of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in Cirebon. The results come in line with the widespread corruption reports, some cases of corruption committed by unscrupulous tax officials. People then assume that tax payment was corrupted by tax officials.

Accordingly, the Executive Secretary of the Commission on Religion and Belief Relations Indonesian Bishops Conference, Father Benny Susetyo, the boycott issue is only a discourse. ''It was just a warning that the Directorate General of Taxes (DGT) has to fight against the corruption seriously and to improve services as well. I hope the Directorate General of Taxes will respond it with clear rules through a harsh crackdown to corrupt tax officials,'' he said.

Directorate General of Taxes explained that the issue was a misguided information of media coverage that the money collected had been taken illegally by taxmen. In tax administration system, all tax payments go directly to the bank and will be administered by the state treasury then. Tax officials would not be able to corrupt the money collected in the bank. Thus, there were no cash (direct) payments in every single tax office so that taxmen could never rob the money.

Benny agreed that people should not merely blame Directorate General of Taxes in corruption matter. The corruption was also found on State Budgeting and Financing process where non-tax officers were involved in. "It's time for us to rearrange tax management transparently so that it will eliminate the corruption cases,'' he continued.

Father Benny was confirming that the boycott could harm tax revenue target and the ongoing national development as well. He suggested that Directorate General of Taxes should respond it quickly with better performances. He believed that the reorganization (reform) will lead taxpayers to pay taxes obediently.

It would be better if DGT implement 'zero tolerance policy' to taxpayers who reluctant to pay taxes. As the tax authority, DGT should strictly enforce the tax law to improve the tax compliance. Accordingly, Father Benny also suggested that DGT should not only implement the law enforcement but also to perform better.

In conclusion, the priest advised the Directorate General of Taxes to respond the issue positively as a therapy to improve tax administration. He also encouraged DGT to be persistance continuing the reform process and cleansing the tax mafia.