Jakarta. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has called for stronger cooperation between the Directorate General of Taxes and the Directorate General of Customs and Excise as part of the government's efforts to boost tax collection.
"We have to admit that in doing our jobs, there is more room for further cooperation," Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Wednesday (25/10).
She was speaking at a seminar coinciding with the 71st anniversary of Hari Oeang (Money Day), which celebrates the day rupiah banknotes first went into circulation in Indonesia. The minister said better cooperation between the two directorates will make it easier for taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations, which will ultimately improve tax compliance and collection.
"The tax office and customs and excise are busy with their own work, but they forget that working together will reduce the burden and improve the result," Sri Mulyani said.
Collaboration between the two directorates has so far allowed trading companies to use their tax identification numbers, known as NPWP, as a valid identification for customs purposes. Businesses doing so are no longer required to apply for customs identification numbers, or NIK.
The minister said she wants more than just a single identity number for taxpayers. She wants real-time data collection – which includes trading companies' complete import and export data – shared between the two directorates to improve tax compliance as it will reduce the amount of time and effort currently required to submit different reports to different government institutions.
"All of this is not meant to make life more difficult, but easier. [...] Our goal is not to rule but to serve," she said.
Heru Pambudi, director general of customs and excise at the Finance Ministry, told reporters that several officials from his office are working at the Directorate General of Taxes, while several tax officials are working at his office as part of this collaboration.
"This is more than just a formality," he said. "[The officials] will translate the policies into day-to-day operations."
The Directorate General of Taxes and the Directorate General of Customs and Excise both play important roles in collecting revenue for the state, with more than 75 percent of it derived from tax.
Yustinus Prastowo, executive director of the Center for Indonesia Taxation Analysis, said cooperation between the two directorates is proceeding well only at a normative level.
"The problem is now at a practical level," he said. "In the field, the implementation and interpretation of the same rules can vary and there are many things planned but the regulations are yet to be available, or they conflict with those of other institutions or ministries."
The government is pushing for tax reform as part of its efforts to boost revenue and improve the ratio of tax collected compared to the national gross domestic product. According to the 2017 revised state budget realization report, total tax revenue amounted to Rp 778.7 trillion ($57.4 billion), or only about 53 percent of the stated target. The government aims for a tax-to-GDP ratio of 16 percent by 2019, compared with the current 10.3 percent.