Thu, 11 May 2000

Govt hikes duty stamps by 300 percent effective from this month

JAKARTA (JP): The government announced on Wednesday a 300 percent hike in duty stamps to Rp 3,000 and Rp 6,000 from Rp 1,000 and Rp 2,000 starting this month.

The director general of taxes, Machfud Sidik, said the increase complied with a 1985 tax decree allowing duty stamps to be raised by up to sixfold from their initial prices of Rp 500 and Rp 1,000.

Duty stamps are used to validate business transactions. Beginning this month, transactions involving sums of more than Rp 250,000 (US$32) and less than Rp 1 million must be sealed with a Rp 3,000 stamp. Transactions exceeding Rp 1 million must carry a Rp 6,000 duty stamp.

The new rates also apply to sealed blank documents.

"We have analyzed (the hike) with sectors which are impacted by it, and we found that it will not burden the majority," Machfud said during a media conference at his office.

The hike in duty stamps is expected to raise Rp 1.2 trillion ($153.8 million) for the government's coffers during the April- December 2000 fiscal year, a 100 percent increase from the 1999/2000 fiscal year.

State-owned Securities Paper and Banknote Printing Company (Peruri), which was appointed by the Ministry of Finance to print the stamps, said it had orders to provide 175 million duty stamps and 9.6 million sealed blank documents this fiscal year.

"Indonesia needs an average of 100 million to 150 million duty stamps a year," Peruri marketing director Suparman said.

Peruri will maintain current security features on the stamps as they are still considered adequate, he said.

The features include a two-picture hologram and neat, small perforations on the duty stamps, while sealed blank documents carry watermarks, Suparman said.

Machfud said the new stamps would be ready in July.

In the meantime, PT Pos Indonesia, which was appointed to sell the stamps, said it would distribute existing stamps with "2000" emblazoned on them at the new rates. These stamps will be valid until December. (10)