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Taxation or Coercion?

North Bali Dive and Snorkeling Operators Complain of Illegal Tax Levy

(11/9/2012) Diving and snorkeling operators in Bali’s northern region of Buleleng are becoming increasing agitated by what they claim is an unclear tax levied for uncertain reasons in the regency.

The topic of the mysterious  tax on water sports was tabled at discussions held on Thursday, November 8, 2012, at the Buleleng House of Representatives (DPRD-Buleleng) on formulating the region’s budget for 2013.

A water sports operator claim a “special” tax is costing between Rp. 10 million and Rp. 12 million (US$1,041 – US$1,250).

A member of Commission A of the DPRD-Buleleng, Dewa Cakra, said many transportation providers for diving and snorkeling customers are forced to pay “tax contributions” by PT PMA. Those paying the tax insist they are already paying tax contributions and complain, asking if a private company is legally able to levy a tax?

Each month, one marine tourism operator on the easternmost area of Buleleng are being asked to pay the “tax” of between Rp. 10 – 12 million. Said Cakra: “This is only one operator who has reported. Imagine if there are 10 operators, then the amount is Rp. 100 million per month and more than Rp. 1 billion over the course of a year.”

Catur said he did not know the legal basis for the mysterious tax. He also did not know if the money collected is being deposited into government coffers or being retained by a private company.

Cakra called on the government to clarify tax liabilities for marine operators.

Meanwhile, the head of the Revenue Agency for Buleleng (Kadispenda), Ida Bagus Puja Erawan, insisted that no private company has been authorized to collect tax on their behalf.

Erawan said that his office would urgently investigate the case to determine if someone from his office is involved in collecting the tax.