Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tax Rules Still Unclear for Mixed Marriages

The hopes of some mixed-marriage couples to obtain answers regarding taxation policies have gone up in smoke.

A seminar on taxation held Saturday concluded with more questions than answers as couples – including Indonesian men married to foreign women and Indonesian woman married to foreign men – discovered that their marriages hardly entered the tax office’s mind.

“My husband works as a diplomat. He does not have a taxpayer identification card (NPWP),” said Ayu Castermans, a participant at the seminar organized by the Mixed Marriage Community (KPC Melati) in Kuningan, South Jakarta.

A panelist at the seminar said Ayu did not need an NPWP because she was a housewife and her husband had diplomatic status.

The panelist, however, added that another regulation implied that Ayu needed an NPWP because there was a pre-marital agreement between the couple separating the ownership status of the family’s assets, in this case the property.

“I am worried that one day, when tax officers check my asset report, they will consider me to be violating the law because I have no NPWP but have an asset under my name.”

“They will wonder where the money came from. And even though I will say it was from my husband, how will I prove it to them?”

Ayu was not the only one confused.

Another asked a hypothetical case about her non-Indonesian husband, who now has an NPWP:

What happens if he leaves the country for good but after his retirement returns as a tourist?

“Should we report the tax, then?” she asked.

Formation Management Institute tax division head Aminarso said he could not immediately provide answers to all questions.

For Indonesian couples, the tax policy is simpler.

A family is regarded as one economic entity with father as the head of family. He is the one who must have an NPWP.

The policy still applies if a husband is unemployed. The wife must pay for the family’s tax obligations, but the NPWP will still be under the husband’s name.

But things get more confusing when it comes to mixed-marriage couples with issues such as domicile, premarital agreements and property ownership.

Under the government’s program, dubbed the Sunset Policy, all unregistered tax payers must present their tax report to the tax office within a year and they must have the NPWP by December.

The government, however, has extended the deadline until the end of February, allowing more unregistered tax payers to hand in their reports. Cecilia Ronnevik, who currently lives in Norway, questioned the Indonesian Embassy in Oslo. She said she did not receive information regarding “Sunset Policy” from the tax office.

However, Aminarso said he could not immediately give clarification on the issue. (hdt)

Source: The Jakarta Post
Sun, 01/18/2009 10:37 AM

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