Talks have been rife on the Draft Tax Amnesty Law for the past year. It is expected to be able increase state revenue, but it may also create controversies due to possible injustices and the questionable long term benefit.
“Talking about the Draft Tax Amnesty Law, whether the Law is bad or good is relative. It can increase state revenue on condition that there will be behaviour change in terms of compliance among tax payers,” said UGM economist, Dr. Akhmad Makhfatih, M.A., in a discussion between Commission XI of People’s Legislative Assembly and experts from UGM on Thursday (21/4) at UGM Main Office.
He said that this kind of law has been enacted in some countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, but the revenue it has generated is not pleasing as it is only temporary. In the long run, injustices may occur between compliant tax payers and those who are not. He assessed that tax should be seen as a form of contribution from people to the running of the nation, a form of working together willingly. But this has yet to be seen in Indonesia. To expect that tax amnesty will instantly change the behaviour of tax payers is superficial. Hence, a series of policies are needed to educate tax payers in addition to sanction.
Similar view was raised by criminal law expert from UGM, Prof. Dr. Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, S.H., M.Hum. He emphasised on the long term strategy to increase state revenue from taxes in the future.
“If asked whether I agree with tax amnesty, I would say yes if related to criminal law perspective, as the paradigm of criminal law is not only to send people to jail. But, tax amnesty has to be followed by strong law enforcement,” he said.
Law enforcement is required to implement the rehabilitating function, that is how to make people compliant and better. One of the methods is to renew tax stipulations so the change that is produced will cover all aspects.