Sat, 28 Jun 2003

Sutiyoso softens stance on tax evaders

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In an apparent softening of a tough new stance against tax evaders who risk having their assets seized, Governor Sutiyoso said on Friday that his office would continue to demand them to pay cumulative tax arrears going back to 1997, which total Rp 58.5 billion (US$7 million).

"If we shut down or take their assets, their employees would be jobless -- this is the dilemma that my office now faces. I have told the revenue agency head to be consistent and follow all procedures," he said.

A day earlier, Vice Governor Fauzi Bowo said that there would not be any compromises made for tax evaders, while the head of the City Revenue Agency, Deden Supriadi, threatened to seize their assets if they failed to pay the tax arrears within the given deadline.

The 774 tax evaders are from four business sectors: hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and advertising companies.

Deden said that on July 1, his office would send out a warning letter. The companies will be given until the middle of next month to pay the taxes or risk having their assets seized.

He said the assets would be auctioned off two weeks after they were seized.

The city administration is taking action based on Law No. 19/1997 and the revised Law No. 19/2000 on the forceful collection of taxes.

Dissatisfied with the administration's new stance, City Council deputy speaker Ibnu Sumantri said the tax evaders are breaking the law and should be prosecuted.

"Moreover, there should be an investigation of the tax collectors as well. How come they don't do anything against tax evaders who have been embezzling people's taxes since 1997?" he said.