Wednesday, August 23, 2006

To Be a Tax Payer in Indonesia

Triggered by the Tax Department's slogan: "wise people pay taxes," I've finally decided that I'm going to get an NPWP (taxpayer identification number), start paying my income tax, and be a wise guy.

(okay, I'm lying. I did a gig for some agency early this year, and a month ago the agency's head told me that he needs to include my NPWP and a copy of my ID card for reporting purposes. Hehe... not so wise after all!)

But anyways, I HAVE been thinking about getting a proper NPWP for a while now. It was James Surowiecki's book, "The Wisdom of Crowds," that really triggered me. Being a fan of the Vicious/Virtuous Circle theory, I immediately bought in to Surowiecki's thought: If enough people pay taxes, then more will follow. If NOT enough people pay them, then eventually those who pay will stop paying altogether. No one wants to be the odd dufus who pays taxes while most other people who don't can get away easily.

Someone then told me, "It's easy to get an NPWP. It won't take you a day at the tax office."

"Okay," I thought excitedly, "I want to be one of the dufuses that lead the way for change." Viva pioneer dufuses! So today I went to the Tax Office of City of East Jakarta.

It turned out that to apply for an NPWP, I have to include a Letter of Business Location (Surat Keterangan Domisili Usaha).

"But my business does NOT have a location." I told the nice lady. "I go and work wherever an employer would need me to work." She told me because I'm applying for a personal NPWP, in administrative terms that would be equivalent as if I'm working from home.

"So how do I get a Surat Keterangan Domisili Usaha?" She told me that I'd have to go to my village/kelurahan office to get one.

Okay. Since I thought this is one day that I've put aside to deal with this business, so happily I head towards my village office. But after getting off the bus at the main road, and walking about 500 meters on a small road in the glaring sun, I found that the office is being torned down. There's nothing but debris!

"The office is being redeveloped," said the man in the warung next door. To go to the temporary office, I have to walk back 500 meters in the glaring sun and catch another bus. There was no sign whatsoever at the main road that the village office is not at the usual place anymore!

Finally I met the Lurah (village head), and he said there are several documents that I need to prepare to apply for that.
  1. An endorsement letter from my RT and RW (the small and larger neighborhood units that makes up a Village)
  2. A copy of my home's land certificate
  3. A copy of my home's latest building tax (PBB) receipt.
  4. And of course, a copy of my ID card and Family Card (KK)

You see, RWs and RTs are quasi-formal entities. There IS a head of RW and a head RT (from whom I must have letters of endorsements), but no one is really holding the posts full-time, and there are no RW and RT offices. So the heads "work" from their homes, in their "spare time." Which means I have to come knock on their home doors later in the evening to ask for the letter.

Hmm... It turned out that getting an NPWP is not a one-day-done business after all. I don't know, maybe after I've collected all the needed documents, then it will be a very fast process at the East Jakarta Tax Office. But we'll see. I'll update you on the process.


In the evening, after going to my RT for the letter, I realized that, "Hey, doesn't the Tax Department now has an online facility?" And surely there it is. The site actually has an "e-registration" page! But can I actually do this all online?

So I filled out all of the forms, and in the end. This note appears:
"Thanks for applying. Please print these documents, and send it with other requirements to your tax office. Requirements:
- Copy of ID card
- Letter of business location."
There it is. The instruction. Right at the end of my day. Still, I need to go to the RT and RW, and Kelurahan, and then I can send the documents to the tax office. Hey, that's saving one out of four trips. Not bad, for a newbie country in ICT application. If only I had checked the web first!

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  1. yah nge. dapetin NPWP personal mungkin gampang..
    tapi , pas loe mo bayar pajak loe, silahkan berepot repot ria dilempar kesana sini (baca: birokrasi + uang tambahan)

  2. Hehe.. iya Son ya. Gw udah diwanti-wanti juga sama temen yang laen: "wah, nyeburin diri lubang buaya luh!" Gimana seh? Mau ngasih uang ke negara (yang akhirnya akan jadi gaji pegawai pajak juga) kok repot? But I want to prove it myself.

    Eh, btw... Selamat Nikah ya!!! Ntar ada resepsi di JKT yah..