Tax Amnesty, DGT’s Brand and Willingness to Pay Taxes

By Esra Junius Ginting, Employee of the Directorate General of Taxes

In conducting its role, the Directorate General of Taxes (DGT), undeniably, has to maintain a good image among society. It is far from easy for this body to rejuvenate the organisation brand after series of bad cases happened in the last decade. However, through several strategic actions, one of them is Tax Amnesty programme, the DGT managed to renew the organisation brand. Yes, the agency brand is crucial for key organisations, in particular, the DGT.

Organisation brand goes way beyond just graphic element or a logo. In term of taxes, it involved everything from entire taxpayer experience. It is more than just a website or logo, social medias, the ways to serve taxpayers or the way in answering consultation. In a simple word, the DGT brand is the way the taxpayers perceive this body.

In international businesses, clients love doing business with companies they trust and familiar with. To reach trust, the company requires commitment and consistency to create innovation to meet the customer needs. In other words, branding is not a “one shot” and done, but it is related to a continuous action of management which was embedded with organisation strategy. It talks about how an organisation creates its relationship with its target stakeholders.

In a similar way, as the key institution to contribute the state budget, the DGT is on its ways to strengthen its brand.  One of those is through tax amnesty programme. President fully supports this programme. Indeed, in the short term, this programme will boost tax revenue. Moreover, in the long term, the tax revenue will be based on a more complete and accurate tax data based. As the consequence of self-assessment, the DGT emphasises this programme on participation. There is no tax examination and investigation related to assets reported by taxpayers. Moreover, the Government guarantee the confidentiality of reported data. The Government promise to facilitate and accommodate the services to provide ease in paying taxes by utilising technology and systems. On the other hand, the taxpayers will get a “discount” with a very low tariff until 31st March 2017. The taxpayers need to say, redeem, then be relieved.  Therefore, this is the momentum to collaborate and reconcile between the DGT and all stakeholders, especially taxpayers.

Previously, some economists, expertises, international organisations, or even government itself looked the tax amnesty programme with an eye. In fact, the 1st phase of this programme surprised many people after reaching the total ransom of 97.2 trillion IDR. The involvement of medias holds an important role in succeeding this programme. Full support from change leaders, then, energises all employees to work until late night even on the weekend. Yes, this organisation realised that the DGT’s employees are the most valuable assets, specifically, the employee commitment as the intangible assets. Awesome!

What’s more, based on World Bank and PwC report in the mid of November 2016, Indonesia created a significant increase of rank in Ease of Paying Taxes from 148th position to 104th place. This is one of the proofs the DGT managed to deliver taxpayers services well by utilising digital technology. Also, the tax amnesty programme would seem like a big gun to reach the top 100 rank as the DGT will widen tax based. It targets not only conglomerate segments but also micro, small and medium enterprises. A world class call centre and professional services will also help the DGT to realise it.

Again, this is the momentum to create “willingness to pay” level of taxpayers. The collaboration among the DGT and its stakeholders has been well proven. This is not without reasons. Firstly, the DGT is “shining” with its brand. What is it? The EMPLOYEES! As the most valuable assets, the employees reached taxpayers awareness proven by the booming of taxpayers who participated in tax amnesty. The employees managed to make taxpayers perceive and trust the DGT. Secondly, the change leaders, the Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, and the Director General of Taxes, Ken Dwijugiasteadi provide a clear direction and motivation, and create an optimum level of work ambience with personal attachment to employees. 

Is it the end?

No! It is not a destination, but it is a journey. Building the outstanding organisation branding needs cooperation from all parties including government, taxpayers, the employees, media, etc. This momentum should be capitalised by keeping more the involvement and engagement of all entities. Indeed, collecting tax revenues is not solely the DGT’s job, but it needs synergy with all stakeholders.

Indeed, formulating innovations in order to maintain great organisation brand is definitely harder than building a new well-recognised brand. The Tax Amnesty programme managed to stimulate and produce all stakeholders awareness about the importance of their participation related to collecting tax. Therefore, all of us needs to hand in hand to keep retaining and increasing the trust of taxpayers in order to improve their compliance. I believe it is not impossible, shortly,the DGT will create the “willingness to pay” level of taxpayers. When do we have to start? Now!(*)

*) The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the institution in which the author works.