Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Millions of Indonesians are now experiencing a new civic culture as being registered taxpayers, with some obvious confusion regarding the issuing of the tax forms.
The March 31 deadline for the submission of the of the tax declaration form (SPT) is approaching, but a lot of taxpayers still have no idea on what to do with the SPT.
"SPT? What's that?" asks Ade Kris, 27, who has just became a registered taxpayer in late 2008. He is among the newly registered taxpayers who are still confused, or even don't have any idea, about filling out the SPT.
The tax declaration forms are a bunch of papers that should be filled by registered taxpayers in paying their annual taxes.
Every year, SPT should be submitted to the tax office on March 31 at the latest.
This year tax paying becomes a different ball game with a huge jump in registered taxpayers from 6 million at the end of 2007, to 12.7 million at the end of February, following the the successful government campaign for more people to get tax identification numbers (NPWP).
Mid last year, the government kicked off the so-called Sunset Policy program, a kind of tax amnesty, to stimulate voluntary tax compliance.
Under this policy, eligible taxpayers were required to apply of an NPWP by the end of February at the latest.
However, The Jakarta Post found out that for newly registered taxpayers, SPT could be a totally alien set of papers.
"I'm confused just by looking at the forms, not to mention filling them out," said Zennis Arrohman, 26, who just registered as a taxpayer last year.
Tax office spokesman Djoko Slamet Surjoputro, however, said filling out the SPT should not be that difficult.
"We have the simulations in our website. Tax office branches also invite newly registered taxpayers to be trained on filling out the SPT," Djoko said.
The simulations can be seen in the tax office's website www.pajak.go.id
at the "Serba Serbi" section.
For individual taxpayers, there are three type of SPT, namely the 1770SS (for a person working only in one company), the 1770S (for a person working in one company, but having other incomes) and the 1770 for businesspeople, said Djoko.
All SPT can be downloaded from the tax office's website, as well as be obtained from tax offices and tax drop boxes being introduced for the first time this year.
Djoko said the drop boxes would be placed at strategic places, including office buildings and malls. In Plaza BII on Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Central Jakarta, a drop box has been placed and many employees have put their SPT there.
Tax office chief Darmin Nasution expected that taxpayers would flock the SPT submission points at the last minutes, referring to people's infamous habit of delaying things until just before the deadline.
"But we've prepared in many places boxes (for people) to drop their SPT," he said.
Darmin added that the growing number of taxpayers would not automatically increase the tax revenue because of the global financial crisis.
Furthermore, as a way to raise purchasing power of low-to mid-income people, the government has also introduced a waived income tax for people with a monthly salary below Rp 5 million (US$415.8).
"That will make their SPT zero. But by registering for a tax file number (NPWP), we can detect them if they're lying (about their income)," said Darmin.