Mon, 17 Sep 2001

Strange exit tax

Indonesians and foreigners with a KITAS (temporary stay)_ permit who want to travel abroad are subject to an "exit levy" of one million rupiah (US$111). Although there are almost no countries on this planet that require their residents to comply with such a strange regulation, Indonesia keeps on taxing its traveling residents. Even stranger is the fact that when I finished my employment contract and went to Soekarno-Hatta airport with a (costly) "exit permit only" (EPO) stamped in my passport, I still had to pay this exit tax.

I did not work in Indonesia anymore, nor was I resident of Jakarta, but still I was forced to pay an amount that equals the price of a return flight to Singapore. Naturally I tried to get an explanation for this final payment to the Indonesian treasury. However, Indonesian Immigration officials are obviously too important to explain such matters to ordinary people. There was only one friendly female immigration officer who admitted that many people had asked her this question, but she had no clue why -- even in this case -- exit tax should be paid.

Therefore I would like to ask the Indonesian immigration authorities to step down from their pedestal and explain to an ex-KITAS holder why there still is a levy such as fiskal (exit levy) and why you still have to pay it, even when your KITAS has already been terminated.