Yunahar Ilyas: Tax Boycott is detrimental to the Country and the People

The tax boycott issue has been a hot issue in recent weeks. The issue was triggered by the results of the National Congress of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU General Assembly) in Cirebon some time ago. It was created along with the rampant news coverage about cases of corruption committed by unscrupulous tax officials. People then assumed that their tax money was being embezzled by tax officials.

Related to this, the Chairman of the Muhammadiyah Central Board, Yunahar Ilyas pointed out that boycotting tax is very detrimental to the nation and people. ''There are many disadvantages of a tax boycott. Boycotting tax will only benefit conglomerates in evading tax,'' he said.

Yunahar argued that tax boycott is merely a moral suggestion that the tax money should not be stolen. ''It was just a message to be conveyed to the Directorate General Tax (DGT) that they shall clean the taxmen force from operatives like 'Gayus','' he cited.

He added that tax boycott is counterproductive to government efforts to boost the national economy. This is because taxes are very instrumental in financing the country's development. ''In concern of benefits, the tax and its implementation are allowed by law,'' he continued.

Tax Officials explained that the issue was misrepresented by the media coverage that claimed the tax money was taken by tax officials. In fact, all tax payments go directly to the bank and are administered by the State Treasury. Tax officials will not be able to take the tax from the bank. Thus, there were no cash tax payments going directly into the tax office and corruption by tax officials.

The Bukit Tinggi born cleric also agreed that corruption cannot be blamed merely on the DGT. "Corruption is always happening in all sectors, at the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government,'' he said. Therefore, he insisted that the penalties should be stiffer and improved to provide a deterrent effect. ''The law must be enforced indiscriminately, including towards the big tax evaders,'' he urged.

The Principal of Budi Mulia Islamic Boarding School agreed that the Tax Officials should act decisively againts taxpayers who delay payment of taxes. It is already known, the DGT has never tolerated taxpayers who did not pay taxes. As the institution undertaking the collection of taxes in accordance with the Act, the DGT has the authority to impose administrative sanctions, such as fines. ''Big tax evaders should be dealt with firmly, not just the general public," said the Muhammadiyah cleric.

The 22 September 1956-born cleric believes that the government cannot do anything about it if the boycott is real. Therefore, he suggested the need to improve the tax system to prevent any leaks. It has to be done to raise the public trust enough to pay tax.