Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tax office promises to listen to taxpayers’ complaints

The Directorate General of Taxation is encouraging taxpayers to file complaints with the office if they feel that officials may have miscalculated their tax payments.

The head of the number two sub-directorate of appeals and lawsuits at the tax office, Jon Suryayuda
Soedarso, said Friday that filing objections was the right of every taxpayer as stipulated in the 2007 Taxation Law.

He promised to listen to complaints and settle cases amicably.

“If a taxpayer has a different opinion about a tax calculation, they may file objections with the tax office,” he said, adding that the office would follow up the objections in accordance to prevailing regulations.

The tax office claims the number of objections filed had steadily declined in the past three years from 20,000 in 2008 and 13,000 in 2009 to only 6,500 in the first nine months of this year.

After reviewing the complaints, Jon added, the tax office would recalculate the tax. If taxpayers were still unhappy with the decision, they could file an appeal with the tax court.

He said taxpayers could object not only about the amount of their tax, but also about auditing

“If taxpayers feel our auditing procedures don’t comply with the prevailing law, they could also file objections,” he emphasized.

The tax office claims the number of appeals filed by taxpayers with the tax court also decreased in the past three years from 3,000 in 2008 and 2,900 last year to 2,700 in the first nine months of this year.

“In 2008, the court settled 2350 cases, in 2009, 2800 cases and 1953 cases in the first nine months of this year. The court upheld our original tax calculations in only 40 percent of the cases,” Jon said, adding that his office lost most of the cases due to improper tax calculations and auditing procedures, not due to illicit deals between taxpayers and tax officers as many critics have claimed.

The head of the number one sub-directorate of appeals and lawsuits, Max Darmawan, said that it was almost impossible for illicit deals to manipulate the decision of the tax court to take place because the tax office had tightened its supervision of all appeal officials.

“After the tax evasion case involving former official Gayus Tambunan broke to the public, we evaluated our system and fixed loopholes,” he said. Gayus was an appeals official who handled appeals from several large Indonesian companies.

To stop incidents of graft, Max said, the tax office limited contact between taxpayers and appeals officials; the two could only meet in plenary sessions.

However, he admitted that the office could not monitor officials outside their work hours.

Jon said that if taxpayers still disagreed with the decision of the tax court, another legal avenue for them to defend their rights was to file a case review request with the Supreme Court.

Source: thejakartapost.com

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